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VII-A Haiku of Contrasts

February 6, 2012

(Link to the original assignment that is not a URL.)

Today I’ve done another ds106 assignment for you all. So without further adieu:


(Link to original photo on tumblr by teatimestar).

“A black tea kettle

Atop a white board, it is

Certainly contrast.”


(Note: I enjoy listening to this while reading haikus, even though by the time the video loads you will have finished reading mine. Also, please read on to see why I chose these words for the haiku)

The Assignment

The assignment was to “take a random photo from dailyshoot and write a haiku about it”. I really like haikus, they were like the Twitter of feudal Japan. You only had a limited amount of space to express your thought, so you had to make a few words go a long way. This is probably a good practice to get into for me since I am notoriously long-winded, in any language. On a somewhat related note, I am actually starting to like Twitter. Never would have thought that would happen.

The Process

First I had to figure out what in the nine hells dailyshoot was. A cursory typing of “” into my browser turned up nothing, but Google quickly came to my rescue. Apparently it’s a site where people upload photos under specific guidelines in order to complete an assignment, similar to ds106. I thought it may have something to do with ds106, because every photo had a tag that began with #ds and then a number, currently up to 690. After much contemplation, I have come up with three hypotheses:

1. #ds just stands for dailyshoot,

2. There are infinite ds’s, and our 106 is merely one, just as theoretical physicists and Mormons believe there are infinite universes,

3. I don’t know what I’m talking about.

I report, you decide.

Anyway, in accordance with the letter of the assignment, it would be best to truly select a random image. In order to do so I used one of my favorite internet tools, this dice roller which was intended for playing Dungeons & Dragons. If you have great moments of indecisiveness (due to apathy or other maladies) I think you will find this extremely useful, I know I do. This tool allowed me to randomly choose between pages and pictures until I arrived at the one above. The assignment this picture was submitted for called for “a picture with high contrast”.

The Story

Initially, I found it daunting to write a haiku about a tea kettle. This is ironic, because considering the revered place of tea in Japanese society, I am inclined to believe there are probably a great many haikus written about it. But I am not Japanese, not much of a poet, and also not that fond of tea.

Then it dawned on me. Contrast. Isn’t contrast one of the properties of an image, for example the setting you change on your television in order to improve the appearance of the picture? This gentleman seems to have literally gone for contrast by putting something black on top of something white. I don’t know anything about photography, art, or the price of tea in China (see what I did there) but it seemed a little heavy-handed, a little obvious. Or maybe he was being ironic. TheI think not though because he himself wasn’t too fond of it according to tumblr:

”  So, today’s dailyshoot was to make a high contrast photo.  As usual, it didn’t really turn out how I planned.  This particular photo probably turned out the best of the bunch that I shot, but there are still a number of things I don’t like about it.  The composition is all wrong.  The top of the pot blends in too much with the table, and I don’t like that the edge of the table is in the frame.  Anyway.  It is late.  I still haven’t found a good excuse to shoot anything with my new telephoto zoom.  I’m considering returning it to the store.”


It seems like he’s in the midst of quite a crisis, and I hate to kick him when he’s down, since my haiku was basically poking fun at the picture. But maybe this is the picture that turned him around. Maybe he took that telephoto zoom back to the store and got a new one that changed him forever as a photographer. Maybe he gave up photography. Maybe I should contact him on tumblr and ask him. No, I think not, I’m hungry.


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One Comment
  1. Daily Shoot was a really cool thing but it closed down last October (in the middle of the semester). The Daily Create is based on their original idea to follow a daily assignment to be posted online.

    I like what you came up with for this assignment. It is certainly contrast, indeed.

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