The Telling Image

A Third Win for The Telling Image


The National Indie Excellence Awards emphasize a synergy of form and content in judging their award winners. My book, The Telling Image: Shapes of Changing Times delivers its message through its 200 images, as much as its text delivers its ideas - a synergy of form and content. So I was thrilled to be selected for its Excellence Award for both Arts and Entertainment as well as Cover Design.

As a former documentary filmmaker for NBC News, I had to find a telling image that conveyed the essence of the information that I scripted. In covering foreign cultures or national issues, I realized how important shape is in downloading the world into order and meaning. Shape itself can be a symbol that tells us the thinking, the mental map, of the culture that built a circular settlement, a pyramid, a town square, a roundabout or a downtown grid. These very shapes reflect whether a society is based on equality or hierarchy, on qualities or quantities, on flow or fixed places.

National awards for Indie books are especially welcomed as independent publishing, from university presses to hybrid publishing, are rising dramatically while traditional publishers are merging and shrinking. The more ideas that are shared, the stronger the society. Thanks to awards such as this, merit can still be recognized even within a system where all can enter. I am grateful to the National Indie Excellence Award judges for the difference their recognition makes for independent writers and excited to be recognized for excellence.

Goodreads Giveaway of The Telling Image

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Telling Image by Lois Farfel Stark

The Telling Image

by Lois Farfel Stark

Giveaway ends December 27, 2017.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Are you on Goodreads? I'm excited to announce that I'll be giving away 25 advance copies of The Telling Image: Shapes of Changing Times via Goodreads! To enter, click the above link. 

Announcing The Telling Image

The Telling Image

Shapes of Changing Times

by Lois Farfel Stark

Now Available for Pre-Order! 

I am very pleased to share with you the cover for my new book, The Telling Image: Shapes of Changing Times. This book has been ten years in the making. As many of my friends can attest, these ideas have been swirling with me since my years as a documentary filmmaker for NBC News. During my travels, I was trained to look for the telling image—a picture that gives the essence of the story. In covering countries in times of tension and transition, I had to look through other people’s eyes to learn how they saw the world. I filmed in Abu Dhabi before the United Arab Emirates were unified, in Cuba ten years after their revolution, in Northern Ireland when their religious conflict burst into urban warfare, and in Liberia covering its social split.

While history gives us versions of a story, a telling image has the power to tap a deeper understanding. I practiced seeing with new eyes, open to take in the unfamiliar and to discover clues to another culture’s worldview. Dropping into a foreign country and trying to understand it enough to present its various factions, historic background, and current controversy was daunting and humbling. I knew I needed to lasso the topics at play, and I knew I would never know everything. One approach I took was to step back and look at the situation with the largest lens, seeing all sides, noticing the geography that influenced the culture’s way of living, and learning the historic background. I had to find an image that could relay the issues and emotions, the culture and landscape, in a way that could convey more than words can explain.

Searching for the telling image of a story, I found one, hiding in plain sight. It was shape itself. Once I looked for shape, I saw it everywhere—in shelters, social systems, and sacred sites. From indigenous cultures to modern societies, our answers to survival, social bonding, and sacred symbols differ vastly. Yet the blueprint for each culture became clear when I looked for shape.

Now you can join in my journey. I extend my thanks to my friends, colleagues, and supporters who have been there with me along the way. Without you, this book wouldn't be possible.

If you'd like to receive more updates about my book, click here to sign up for my book newsletter and get a free excerpt of the book. Or you can pre-order your copy on Amazon. 

Upside Down

Upside Down

Have you ever looked at photograph of a human face upside down? It takes awhile for our eyes to process through our brain, to even be sure it is a face, much less a face we know.  Our automatic recognition of the world is keyed to frame and name the familiar. 
Today’s world can seem upside down. Accelerated change has made it almost impossible to find a fixed point that is not in flux. The shape of cities will alter as we go from cars we drive to cars that drive themselves. Drones multiply our capacities to see with 360 degree vision, both from above the landscape and within buildings .Think of astronauts floating in the space station, with no up nor down, somersaulting rather than walking. We relearn how to orient, how to pattern, while it’s all in motion.
Henry Ford said if he had asked people what they want, they would have said faster horses. If Steve Jobs had asked us, we could not have imagined icons that lead us to draw on a computer, icons that let us shop on a cell phone. So let’s be clear. Since we are in motion, since the new can come to us from any angle, we must start to see like a floating astronaut, alert in all directions.
Familiar patterns are coming to us upside down. Dylan the musician gave a concert in England in 1965 where the first half was his popular folksong style. The second half burst open with an electric band, full of unfamiliar sounds, that are now classics, such as Tell Me How Does It Feel from the song Like a Rolling Stone. Food is in fusion, from IndoChine to Tex Mex. Family systems now come in multiple combinations, as well as gender. It feels like a blend, a potpourri, but eventually fresh forms become their own new selves, like jazz, where African beats become American blues.
More voices are being heard today by more people than ever before. By voices I mean musicians, writers from all cultures, tech creations from drones to genomics.
It is the age of participation, of networking, of the inane and the incredible in the same mix.
It can disorient, seem raw, but also freshly intriguing, up to each of us to discern the pattern in unfamiliar terms, like recognizing a face upside down.

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