The first house organ review; a new type
of text book; Gloag's latest novel;
the economics of portrait photography
The business of photography
HOUSE ORGAN HANDBOOK AND
reviews 1939-40. By Francis
R. Groves. Published by The Insti
tute of House Organ Editors. 15s.
THE PRESENT POPULARITY of house
organs was foreshadowed over 18
years ago when the Editor of the
(then) Austin Advocate found that
over two-thirds of its readers would
be willing to pay rather than to
forego it. The Austin Magazineat
Since that time, this mushroom
industry has increased to the issue
of over 10,000,000 copies of house
organs in Great Britain last year.
This year sees the first standard
work on the subject to be published
in Britain. Its author, Francis R.
Groves (himself producer of numer
ous house organs and former editor
of the house organ section of
Advertising Worldtreats his sub
ject practically, doctoring every
complaint that is likely to come the
way of the amateur publisher, from
the naming of the house organ to
the persuasion of other advertisers
to pay for it. He divides his work
into three sections book one is
devoted to production, book two
reviews British house organs in
their astonishing diversity of pur
pose, and book three is a miscellany
of useful references. Each section
gains by the author's extensive
research, which contains enough
information to equip any would-be
producer, and in none does Mr.
Groves' enthusiasm out-run the
sober questions of paper cost and
type-setting. For this alone his
book deserves success.
In production, the author
applauds the change from orna
mentation to simplicity the
illustrations, for the most part, show
exuberant misuse of both. Type
specifications (after hovering over
Gill, Caslon, Broadway, Rockwell
and a little of something shaded)
swoop to an uncertain realisation of
Bodoni Ultra. But if, on this score,
the book should be kept from the
more sensitive typographers, there
is no reason for its suppression
among amateurs (who in any case
crib from Lilliput). Otherwise the
book makes an excellent guide.
GRAVEN IMAGE. By John
Farleigh. Macmillan. 15s.
1 have A desire to write a book
about engraving and illustrating,
though not another text-book.
Engraving as an adventure Tech
nique as a part of life It is not
easy to say what sort of book I
am hoping to writebut not
another text-book. A record, per
haps, of engraving as I have
discovered it, step by step.
Farleigh's book is a sincere and
leisured discussion of himself and
his work. His experiment, his
progress, his technique and experi
ence fall naturally into the account
of each of his major works. His
personal outlook and beliefs emerge
pleasantly, without affectation.
There is no suspicion of the
columnist's confidence trick
Farleigh speaks only of what may
be discussed among people of
similar interests, and he omits the
oppressively personal. One is as
grateful for his silence as for his
Text and illustration are in per
fect continuitythe illustrations
progress from the text, which is as
it should be. They are many and
superb. There is a wide choice for
the studentpractical demonstra
tion by diagram, photographed
handling of tools, experimental
blocks showing excursions in tech
nique, progressive proofs of intri
cate subjects, reproduction of work
by past and contemporary artists.
For the connoisseur, there is
equally pleasant provision an
assemblage of Farleigh's work that
reiterates its excellence.
The book's interest is evenly
maintained, but one chapter, at
least, demands prominence de
voted to The Black Girl, it is largely
given over to the letters (and, sur
prisingly, the drawings) of Shaw.
The recounted progress of the book
is wholly absorbing, and Shaw as
an art critic, and Farleigh as an
artist, both emerge creditably.
The chapters on Book Illus
tration and Book Jackets
might almost have formed a book
by themselves (to be produced
more within the student's price
range), while Private Presses
gives an insight into the artist's part
in the production of limited edi
tions. Though these sections are
outstanding, the earlier part of the
book has much to offer the ex
perience of the artist's apprentice
ship at art school, in search of
a state of mindteaching
public school artthe economics
of artthe discovery of crafts
The practical hints that this
volume contains are too profuse for
individual mention, but they make
it invaluable to the student. It
would be worth its price for the
vicarious experience obtainable
from itit is generous in being also
an interesting biography and a
thoroughly useful reference.
manna. A novel by John Gloag.
Cassels. 7s. 6d.
JOHN gloag can always be relied
upon to provide something to think
about. Manna is a satire upon our
civilisation. The story is woven
around a natural fooda kind of
mushroomwhich grows prolific-
ally everywhere, a small portion of
which is more than sufficient for
human satisfaction. Its use would
banish starvation for all the peoples
of the earth. What happened after
its discovery Was it allowed to
benefit mankind Were its dis
coverers honoured It would be
unfair to give away the theme, but
read the book and see for yourself.
If it doesn't make you think, there
must be something wrong with you.
PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY AS A
career. By Juan C. Abel. London
Chapman Hall Ltd. 10s. 6d. net.
this is A comprehensive work
relating to the business side of the
profession of portrait photography.
Commencing with possibilities, the
necessary preparation, starting for
oneself, it considers the importance
of name location and organisation,
the handling of customers and staff,
keeping accounts, publicity, law
accounting and collections. It is
written by an expert with long
experience in the United States,
and close research in Britain, and is
well worthy of study by newcomers
and established professionals alike.