The Age of the Image

Redefining Literacy in a World of Screens

Stephen Apkon; Foreword by Martin Scorsese

Farrar, Straus and Giroux Paperbacks

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An urgent, erudite, and practical book that redefines literacy to embrace how we think and communicate now

We live in a world that is awash in visual storytelling. The recent technological revolutions in video recording, editing, and distribution are more akin to the development of movable type than any other such revolution in the last five hundred years. And yet we are not popularly cognizant of or conversant with visual storytelling’s grammar, the coded messages of its style, and the practical components of its production. We are largely, in a word, illiterate.
     But this is not a gloomy diagnosis of the collapse of civilization; rather, it is a celebration of the progress we’ve made and an exhortation and a plan to seize the potential we’re poised to enjoy. The rules that define effective visual storytelling—much like the rules that define written language—do in fact exist, and Stephen Apkon has long experience in deploying them, teaching them, and witnessing their power in the classroom and beyond. In The Age of the Image, drawing on the history of literacy—from scroll to codex, scribes to printing presses, SMS to social media—on the science of how various forms of storytelling work on the human brain, and on the practical value of literacy in real-world situations, Apkon convincingly argues that now is the time to transform the way we teach, create, and communicate so that we can all step forward together into a rich and stimulating future.

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Book Excerpts

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ALL THE WORLD’S A SCREEN
 
 
We often look for signs of systemic change in the highest of places, yet it is often in the most profane of places that we find the fuel for this change.
So it seems appropriate that a look at the shape of literacy in the twenty-first century can be gleaned in a visit to a set of ratty industrial warehouses at the edge of downtown Los Angeles, in a neighborhood favored by filmmakers for its moody alleys and car-chase venues.
Inside a drafty space that bears the most charitable appellation of “office,” a stout young man in a

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I AM HERE: A short film for The Age of the Image, by Stephen Apkon (foreword by Martin Scorsese)

In his new book The Age of the Image, Steve Apkon argues that it is time we understand why and how visual images are today's most powerful form of communication. This short film, created especially for the book, shows exactly how image, sound and story can be more effective than words alone.

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Reviews

Praise for The Age of the Image

“This sumptuously detailed and profound new book should be required reading for anyone who thinks about how to effectively communicate in our new world of screens.” —Jonathan Demme

“[A] timely, acutely perceptive, and often impassioned book, which sets the rise of visual language in the context of the long history of communication.” —Simon Schama


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About the Author

Stephen Apkon; Foreword by Martin Scorsese

Stephen Apkon is the founder and executive director of the Jacob Burns Film Center, a non-profit film and education organization located in Pleasantville, New York. The JBFC presents a wide array of documentary, independent, and foreign film programs in a three-theater state-of-the-art film complex, and has developed educational programs focused on twenty-first century literacy. Under Apkon’s leadership, the JBFC opened a 27,000-square-foot media arts lab in 2009. Since its doors opened in 2001, JBFC education programs have reached more than 100,000 children.

Steve serves on the boards of The World Cinema Foundation and Advancing Human Rights.  He is President of Big 20 Productions; the director and producer of The Patron, a collaboration with Ido Haar; a producer of Enlistment Days, directed by Ido Haar; and a producer of I’m Carolyn Parker: The Good, the Mad, and the Beautiful directed by Jonathan Demme.

Stephen Apkon

Lynda Shenkman Curtis
Stephen Apkon

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Available Formats and Book Details

The Age of the Image
Redefining Literacy in a World of Screens
Stephen Apkon; Foreword by Martin Scorsese

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Farrar, Straus and Giroux Paperbacks
April 2014
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780374534509
ISBN10: 0374534500
5 3/16 x 7 15/16 inches, 288 pages, 13 Black-and-White Illustrations/Notes on Sources
$15.00

Hardcover

Hardcover
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
April 2013
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780374102432
ISBN10: 0374102430
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 288 pages, 13 Black-and-White Illustrations/Notes on Sources
$26.00

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
April 2013
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429945776
ISBN10: 142994577X
288 pages, 13 Black-and-White Illustrations/Notes on Sources
$9.99
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Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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