My photo haiku are far from perfect. They don't always follow haiku rules...
I do not think
haiku can be perfect - mine
go from bad to verse
Still, I can't give up taking pictures, writing short poems or drinking coffee. After a while, these three habits hook up like three lines in a haiku. I don't know when this happened, but a while ago my friend told me that photo haiku was better than ice chewing.
What is Photo Haiku?
Photo haiku combines an image and a brief poem to open the minds to a fresh perception. The combination evokes thoughts, and at best a state of consciousness in a viewer. Photo haiku tries to show the essence of human experience or nature. Well-written haiku photography can touch our souls with an Aha immediacy.
Q: Why do Photo Haiku ?
A: Awareness of the delights of the day. Photo haiku grows our awareness of little things, small pleasures, and odd moments. Making a haiku photo each day lets us structure how we observe the details of our lives. It expands the ideas in a photographs and guides us toward any subtle associations we might have with a photograph. Photo haiku also extends the impact of our photographs: words are pictures together are more powerful than either alone.
Since haiku often has a season word, reading a photo haiku years after it was made can help to recall the places and times that we travelled.
Modern haiku can be playful, social, and even witty. The structure of today's haiku is no longer bound to 17 syllables with five in the first line, seven in the second line and five in the third, that old 5-7-5 rule we were taught in elementary school.
Photo haiku today is more spontaneous. It has an 'on the spot' lightness. The haiku form also lends itself to travels with a camera. When on the move, it's a challenge to create an evocative poem that harmonizes with the pictures we take on the road.
Haiku: The Wordless Poem
Long called the “wordless poem,” haiku was a way of life, linked to spiritual practice. Poets and regular people wrote hokku to praise nature and to open their minds. The non-rhyming short poetry form began with scholars in China as hokku, then spread throughout Japan. It came to be called haiku in the 19th century. Traditionally, poets in China wrote about nature. Writing poetry was a social occasion. Later, Matsuo Basho, the most renowned Japanese haiku poet, devoted his spiritual life to writing poetry and prose. He explored northern Japan as a traveling priest. His poems bring us a feeling of “lightness” as his haiku summoned ideas from Zen practice such as wabi and sabi. Basho's prose and poetry reflects a solitariness and the experiences anyone can have everyday. With his travels throughout Japan and his haiku wiring, Basho remindfully brings the distant past into the present.
Now let's explore some of the How To.
How To Make Photo Haiku
Begin by observing a moment in time. Imagine the essence of what you feel and perceive. Any subject or human relationship can become a haiku photograph.
Use familiar, simple photo gear like your cell phone or point and shoot camera.
Think about what you perceived, heard, or sensed during your experience. Write a short poem about the feeling you had.
Your short poem can be about what happened or even what you imagined might have happened. When you craft haiku, use simple language. Think of a group of words that present an observation in a way that appeals to your senses. Use your vision, touch, the sounds, aromas or tastes. Edit the poem until it tells of a specific event or observation. Use present tense, not pasts tense. Show the feelings the poet has while writing the poem. When describing an event, present it as an image.
Apps and Photoshop for Photo Haiku
There are many apps to apply effects to pictures. The download for Photo Artista Haiku effect is one I have tried. The app lets you easily change the appearance of a photo. If will not make you a haiku poet, but the effects are fun.
PHOTOSHOP: Making Photo Haiku in Adobe Photoshop: 6 Steps
STEP 1: START. Open your photograph using File > Open.
STEP 2: Add your text. Click IMAGE > Canvas Size. Change width to 300 pixels wide. If your picture was 800 pixels, make the width 1200 pixels.
STEP 3 : Likewise, add 400 pixels to the height. Note that you can customize the canvas color by clicking Canvas extension color: drop-down menu at the bottom of the Canvas Size dialog box.
STEP 4: Click the Text Tool in the toolbox. Select your font style from the upper toolbar. Type in the text of your poem. If you want to move down a line, hit the "enter" key on your keyboard. Click Photoshop's check mark to commit your edits (the check mark is at the top of Photoshop's display, in the middle of the Options bar that runs horizontally across the top of the screen). To view your text layer, open the Layers palette by clicking WINDOW > Layers ( F7 ).
STEP 5: Position your poem by using the move tool in the toolbox.
STEP 6: FINISH. With the text and a picture on two layers, save the file as a .psd file type so you can edit it later (File > Save As). For instance, you may wish to change the color scheme, and this is easier with a Photoshop's .PSD file.
Haiku photography is thriving in the information age as people write haiku in 30 different languages. The rapid growth of digital photography inspires new forms of photo haiku. As a wave of younger artists publish diverse haiku photo work online, haiku photo will reach a global audience with fresh energy, centuries after it first emerged.
HAIKU POETS HUT. For an index of haiku subjects from “inner glow” to “dragons” and a million other haiku, explore Shoji and other poets at Haiku Poets Hut.
FACEBOOK. Join the haiku hut on Facebook .
WORLD HAIKU REVIEW. Find the official magazine of the World Haiku Club.
HAIKU BOOK. The Haiku Anthology , Third edition. Core van den Hoevel.
HAIKU: THE WORLD'S SHORTEST POEM. Youtube video that shows Japanese people in Tokyo spontaneously composing haiku on the street and references Basho and Shiki, two haiku poets.
We took a wrong turn, got lost, and drove around Highland roads in search of the Ballachulish House Bothy. Luckly, the weather was clearing. We found the driveway off the main road, and a rainbow burst out overhead as the brisk wind rocked the trees along the driveway that looked like it led to our Scottish guesthouse.
We parked the rental car, the owner greeted us, and when I asked, told us the village was pronounced BAL-ə-HOO-lish. He invited us to move our gear into the warmly furnished guest house ̶ a white, rectangular, 19th century, slate roof, stone-built abode, described as a self-catering bed-and-breakfast. On the mantle above its fireplace, hardbound between red leather covers, was a complete set of Robert Louis Stevenson's novels (First American Editions, Scribner's sons). Along its length, this series of novels measured three feet. Stevenson's novel Kidnapped was in the middle of the stack, about halfway in-between The Hair Trunk and Saint Ives. As the wind howled around Ballachulish house that night, the pages turned in my mind, and I realized that the author Robert Louis Stevenson was part of the same family as the Stevenson clan who built almost 100 Scottish lighthouses.
Built in 1640, this guesthouse is infamously connected to the Appin Murder, known in Scotland for a howling miscarriage of justice. Colin Campbell of Glenure, the Red Fox, was shot in the back in the Wood of Lettermore near Appin, Scotland. He was a government employee and managed three estates under the government control of King George II, the 5th Great Grandfather of Elizabeth II. The Kings men took land from Jacobite clans and Jacobite men sought revenge. Thus, the shooting.
This particular shooting of Campbell outraged the British establishment, even more so as it came on the heels of the Battle of Culloden, in which Bonnie Prince Charlie's Jacobites were defeated in battle by the British army. James Stewart, a Jacobite known as “James of the Glen”, was hanged for the Appin murder despite his solid alibi. The psalm that James of the Glen spoke before he was led to the noose, the 35th psalm, is known in the highlands at the Psalm of James of the Glen: Plead my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me; Let their way be dark and slippery. The murder and injust hanging inspired fictional events in Robert Louis Stevenson's aforementioned novel Kidnapped.
The next day, in the windy, chilly, moist air of the coast, we hiked the coast to see the Neist Point Lighthouse on the Isle of Skye. Perched on a promontory, the 1909 lighthouse overlooks the turbulent waters between the Outer and Inner Hebrides. Its purpose is to warm ships away from the Gneiss rocks at Neist Point. Striding over the wet heather and muddy grass along the cliffs, with a steady 35-knot wind cutting through our bones, we could see gannets gliding over the water at the base of the cliffs. We took care to avoid the drizzle-awakened slippery rocks near the deathly drop offs, lest a wind gust propel us over the cliff.
To photograph the lighthouse, we took the cliff trail instead of the steep, single track downward. Looking out over the promontory, made of Giant's Causeway gneiss rock, it was clear how Neist Point came into its name (pronounced Neiss). Given the scale of this remote rock promontory, it seemed improbable that anyone would build there, yet the builder, engineer David Alan Stevenson, a member of the Stevenson family of lighthouse builders in Scotland, had conquered this terrain as well. David Stevenson designed and built 26 lighthouses with his brother and uncle, including the Neist project. The three unique features of Neist are first, its setting on the most westerly point of Skye, projecting into the Minch. Also, a garage was converted into a tea and coffee shop, a blessing to wind-chilled slow photographers. Finally, there is an aerial cableway for getting supplies down and out to the lighthouse building.
After downloading the days scenes from our cameras back inside the guesthouse, its cozy touches-fireplace, hot tea, the pages of Stevenson's book, shelter from the wind-came together to make for a blissful Isle of Skye evening.
In the back yard of my childhood home, a giant chestnut tree spread its limbs.
From far above me, its chestnuts fell and landed with a solid clonk. These gems were colored a deep brown. I gathered and polished them, leaving them in piles inside our family home on Council Crest, a hill known as "Portland's rooftop garden." This heavenly Oregonian chestnut tree inspired me to climb its relatives, photograph its kin and talk to many others. This year, I read Trees, a book by photographer Frank Horvat with an essay by John Fowles (1926-2005). The beauty of the book inspired this selection of quotes by Fowles, the famous novelist. . .
"There is a spiritual corollary to the way we are currently de-foresting and de-naturing our planet. In the end what we must most defoliate and deprive is ourselves.
We might as soon start collecting up the world’s poetry, ever line and every copy, to burn it in a final pyre; and think we should lead richer and happier lives thereafter."
"That two branches grow in different directions and ways does not mean they do not share a same mechanism of need, a deeper set of rules."
"Evolution did not intend trees to grow singly. Far more than ourselves they are social creatures, and no more natural as isolated specimens than man is as a marooned sailor."
All quotes by John Fowles