Sometimes, you spill popcorn and as you’re picking it up you notice the perfect book for your evening. This was exactly the case for me this past weekend when I stumbled across Zoom by Istvan Banyai. About a year ago I read and wrote about the second book by Istvan Banyai, appropriately titled Re-Zoom, my thoughts on that can be found here. About a year has gone by and enough has happened that a perspective check was exactly what I needed.
Zoom is a simple concept. With every turn of the page there is another picture that gives context to the last pages pictures. Essentially, you start zoomed in and with each page you zoom out. There are no words, but I’d caution against flipping through quickly. The art is beautiful and well thought out. The more you appreciate the page you’re on, the environment you’re in, the more exciting it becomes when you turn the page and what you thought was true and real is completely different with a slightly wider lens.
It’s hard to write about this book without drawing parallels for what the United States is experiencing politically right now. I’ll say this: this book is important, if only to remind you how much “there” there is. It is so easy to get swept up and bogged down in arguments online, or the news, or tv, or even drama with friends. This is all important on its own level. It’s wildly important to stay informed and to be involved and to stand up for what you believe. It’s also important to practice the art of zooming in and out. Take a step back to remember the impact you might be having on complete strangers on the other side of the world. Focus in on the immediate impact you’re having on the blank piece of paper in front of you. I don’t know that one of these is more important than the other but I do believe the practice of considering both will result in more thoughtful discussions. Practicing what this book exemplifies will make it easier to figure out when and where a conversation needs to happen to get positive results, rather than screaming into an abyss and hoping for the best.
This is, I suppose, a children’s book. If all children had access to it and sat with it at bedtime then the next generation will be thoughtful, critical thinkers, that impact the world in a purposeful way. I do hope adults read it too. We’re reactionary creatures and sometimes art is what’s needed to remind us that to react with no purpose is to forget that the lens zooms out.
Keep reading. Keep learning. Keep listening. Keep creating.