After Reading: Kissa By Kissa

Paging through Craig's beautifully tactile travel photobook

After Reading: Kissa By Kissa

Last night, as I lay in bed, I read Kissa By Kissa. The whole thing in one sitting.

I think it should be read in one sitting - it’s one continuous story that winds like a garden path. It’ll take you about the length of a movie, probably a bit less if you don’t linger on the photos and textures as much as I did.

In it, Craig Mod tells you the story of a long walk he took through southern Japan, meeting people and eating pizza toast with coffee. It’s the kind of story a friend would tell you after a long trip of their own, just with better pictures in a beautifully bound book. Full of anecdotes and tangents into history he found along the way.

Craig’s not the best photographer in the world, but his photos are matched well with his prose: calm, stable, framing humans in their real environment, painting a scene with subtle details. He photographs compassionately, letting the scene and people expand to fill the frame, aided by his text. His framing inspires in me toward type of travel photography I aim for on my own trips, and it raises my heart to see them presented so well.

The physical presence of the book is lovingly built. It’s a fabric cover that is soft like a well-worn shirt, soothing your hands as you hold it. The size is perfectly balanced between too heavy to hold for long and too small to enjoy the printed images. Each time I pass by I want to pick it up again, to stare at the deep colors, to turn the thick pages.

Like Annie Leibovitz’s At Work, this will be one of my top-shelf, always-within-reach photo books.


I mentioned Craig in the recent map of my funding, as I’m a sponsoring member of his work.