Masao Yamamoto – Title Unknown (19XX)
When I learned about the haiku form in like 7th grade or some shit, what I took from the lesson was the whole 5-7-5 syllable patterning and that they all seemed to be meditative on nature.
For probably a good decade, my approach to the form was on par with South Park.
But what gets glossed over is the connection between the first 12 and the disjunction/rupture inherent in the final 5 syllables.
In effect, the above image is a photographic approximation of a haiku. There are two distinct planes in the frame–differentiated by depth of field; the blossoming cherry branch in the foreground, the young woman in the mid-ground.
This was almost certainly shot with a telephoto lens–which has the effect of magnifying the subject. However, telephoto lenses also compressed the distance between objects. Thus although there may be twenty feet between the subject and a wall, it appears as if the subject is relatively close to the wall. (The famous cinematographic example of this is that famous scene in the Coen Brothers’ Raising Arizona with the baby in the car seat in the middle of the road with a station wagon barreling down on it.)
Given that the background in this print is so pitch dark that it seems like an Edward Weston wet dream and that the blossoming branch in the foreground is so dark–only remaining visible due to the body separating it from the background, what originally appeared as discrete planes, interpenetrate.
Bonus factoid: Apparently, Yamamoto isfond of employing tea to stain his prints.