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“STORYSHARDS are the sacred guiding memories and motivating themes of your life – integral to the whole vessel.”
Visual Artist – LISL DENNIS – Story Guide 

Lisl produces and hosts STORYSHARDS, a multimedia retreat program derived from her international travels. Sequential visual vignettes reRlect relevant topics and themes that inspire personal story-sharing among the participants. The program encourages engaged creativity, social action, and focuses intention in these shambolic times. The current program is STORYSHARDS | Kismet + Karma. Lisl’s vibrant videos can be seen on StoryShardsYouTube. To be presented again between Thanksgiving and Christmas 2021, the program is limited to ten participants. Contact Lisl Dennis for program details. 


“StoryShards is brilliant. Truly an engaging presentation so graciously facilitated. Thoughtful, well planned and orchestrated – warm and stimulating. An inspired juxtaposition of creativity and complexity thinking. I am still inspired and assimilating our shared experience, and the inBinite, shifting, emergent, transformative possibilities of creative, engagement with the world.” – JAN KARAFYLAKIS, Designer

“I feel intense passion about these issues, with which we, as a species, are grappling at this point in time. Gathering with concerned people to have deep conversations about the complexities that abound is essential for my sanity. That is the reason that, despite my busy schedule, I took you up on your invitation to attend STORYSHARDS.” – JULIANA COLES, Activist

“Lisl, I want to tell you I really enjoyed our retreat together. I was inspired to think many things, grow many ideas after conversations with people. Such a well spent retreat experience. And your STORYSHARDS audiovisual presentation is impressive and moving. Thank you for all of it!!!” – NAN NEWTON, Musician



The divine Diana Vreeland, legendary editor of Harper’s Bazaar and founder of The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum, affirmed, “Shocking pink is the navy blue of India.”

Enroute to the Ganges, I tucked my father’s cremains in a dreary black bandana for a final puja in the tide facilitated by stoned jungly priest. Greedy, too, they were. The bright marigold lei dressed JSJ’s aged snot-rag. The elephant vessel was purchased at a gas station souvenir shop. At Varanasi, the essence of the dead smoked and surrendered the last of their embodiment at the riverside ghats. Abstraction for sure.

Having been to the subcontinent many times before, from Himalayan heights clear to the shores of Kerala, I knew that India is the place to get my photo-color-on, and frame it through an eye for optical intimacy and abstraction. Whether in stuffed bags of saris bound for market, upside down color wheel turbans, or a portrait posed against a sari background, in India,

color–saturated abstraction is there to be seen and captured.

Color is form, color is content. Color blocking became the “it” of modern art and fashion design very early in the 19c. So why not in photography, where color was not accepted as fine art until the 80s?  As for abstraction: it transcends literal subject matter – creates another window into the creative imagination. All those traditional pictures have been taken; just take a look at Instagram and Pinterest. As for India, corruption, pandemics, poverty and overpopulation, and nationalist belief systems have transformed this fantastical holy land, once so open and conducive to form, color, and abstraction. Nevertheless, the color wheels of saris remain aswirl – and in the  embers of memory.


Paris always delivers photo surprises to me. Imagine my delight when entering

the ladies lou at The Arab World Institute. Visible behind the glass wall, a metallic screen unfolds with moving geometric motifs, a la moucharabieh. The motifs are actually 240 photo-sensitive motor-controlled apertures, or shutters, which act as a sophisticated brise soleil that automatically opens and closes to control the amount of light and heat entering the building from the sun. The mechanism creates interior spaces with filtered light – an effect often used in Islamic architecture with its climate-oriented strategies.

Winning the Aga Khan Award for Architectural Excellence, the innovative use of technology and success of the building’s design catapulted architect Nouvel to fame and is one of the cultural reference points of Paris.

Several ladies in line were in full burka. Not needing the lou, I maneuvered gracefully to access the original flat gray-day images, which I later affected in Lightroom. Discovering CUT–UPS as a sound track was a creative surprise, as well. I synced the shots to William Burroughs’ voiceover from CUT–UPS, his rad Paris-based radio show of the 1960s.


Morocco has been a photo-love of mine for many years – decades!

First trip my husband Landt Dennis and I ran-a-reckie to develop VISUAL JOURNEYS | Creativity in Culture photo tours, which we conducted for many years. On ensuing trips to Inshallah Land, we met locals, european expats, and King Hassan 11. He took a shine to us and hosted our travels for two years for a book project MOROCCO | Design from Casablanca to Marrakech. (Still in print through Thames & Hudson. New York, NY, London, UK). With a contract and generous advance from Clarkson N. Potter, Random House NYC, we had the goods, personally and professionally. That means access.

Our international crew: duly supported, English, French, Moroccan – and us – our assistants; London stylist; vans, drivers and guides; photo-gear-laden donkeys wending through medinas; snake charmers and gris-gris; overdoses of greasy tajine; social intrigues in Tangier; salt-dipped cumin-dusted hard boiled eggs at early morning pit-stop cafes motoring through remote places; and quotidian quaffs of High Atlas wines always available with well wishing smiles.

With our personal and palace contacts – phone numbers – we endured fluid Marrakech fusions deep into the night. What a whirl: “Off On the Road to Morocco.” In this exotic Eurocentric land, photography was beside the point. At least for me: Fill in my Morocco story blanks one day. Go there – Inshallah!



A visit to Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial is a haunting experience conducive to contemplation of being unseen and lost in of site covered with 2,711  concrete slabs, or stelae, arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field.  Designed by architect Peter Eisenman, the compound roll makes exploring the alleyways a bit of a whoopsy-do. But not for the kids playing hide-and-seek among themselves and faking out parents. I was lifted from a somber state when I tried to capture the kids on camera running between and ducking behind the huge stelae. I got a fix, as well, on the chiaroscuro shadow play on the concrete blocks.

It’s a wonder how elements come together creatively. With a collection stark images from the Holocaust Memorial, I entered them into Lightroom and got to work. Kids clothing brightened the overall pale. Shifting the hue added mood, as well. Then what? One day, while editing my book collection, I came upon KAKURENBO, by my Zen friend  Eido Frances Carney. Subtitled, “Or the Whereabouts of Zen Priest Ryokan,” Carney treat riffs on Ryokan’s favorite game of hide-and-Go-Seek.  She writes, “Now you see me, now you don’t. Look, I’m here; no, I’m over here. What are we getting ready for in such play? We play along, we listen, and learn, coming again and again to new hideouts, new games, new gates.”

What’s the music? KAKURENBO became an evocative video segment in my StoryShards retreats. You can imagine how the conversation rolled with the compound roll of the terrain beneath the Holocaust Memorial, and the shifting shadows along the stelae.  And not to forget the holocaust victims’ souls remembered in the crypt beneath all the hiding-and-seeking.