The Telling Image
“We shape our world, and then it shapes us.” Lois Farfel Stark takes us on a journey through time in The Telling Image, explaining how we can see history in shapes. In the beginning, it was a web, with interwoven communities at one with nature. Every part of life echoed the circular pattern. With farming came the ladder, turning life into a hierarchical society. Now, we have entered into the helix perspective, which began with the discovery of the structure of DNA, as well as with the network introduced with the arrival of computers. Stark posits that the future shape of our perception will be the torus, a donut-like shape that “combines earlier shapes—circular, spinning, interconnected, and in flow.” Stark explains all of this using photographs and images to prove her point. You can clearly see what she is saying: “We are what we build.”
I dove into this book, thinking it was going to be more photographs than writing, but I found the opposite to be true. That is not a bad thing, it’s just not what I expected, and I want the reader to be forewarned. Ms. Stark’s background as a documentary filmmaker can be clearly seen in this book. It reads more like a textbook. I found it to be very informative, even if I didn’t agree with some of what the author was saying. The photographs are beautiful, and the layout of the book is fantastic. When you look at photographs of different buildings or structures in different times, it’s easy to miss the common shapes. Ms. Stark groups them together, making it obvious that one way of thinking shaped everything in that time period. The author is a think-outside-the-box kind of person. It was amazing how she could see the different shapes of thinking even in forms of dance, decision making, and health throughout time. Every photograph and quote within this book is perfectly placed. Stark has done an incredible amount of research, as well as world traveling, and her knowledge and skill are on display in this book.
There is a quote from Aristotle in chapter five that says, “the soul never thinks without an image.” And Ms. Stark writes, “visual images have a greater effect, because thirty percent of our brain is dedicated to sight. We remember more of what we see than what we read or hear.” Her book, though filled with words, has the images we need to imprint what we are learning. What I’ve read will stick with me because of what I’ve seen. Anyone who loves seeing things differently, or even just simply is intrigued by architecture, will enjoy this book. I encourage you to learn about the world through Lois Farfel Stark’s eyes.
Greenleaf Book Group
Lois Farfel Stark