Photo haiku

Haiku is a type of short form poetry originally from Japan. In comparison with English verse typically characterized by syllabic meter, Japanese verse counts sound units known as on or morae. Traditional haiku is usually fixed verse that consists of 17 on, in three phrases of five, seven, and five on, respectively.

Originally from Japan, haiku today are written by authors worldwide. Haiku in English and haiku in other languages have different styles and traditions while still incorporating aspects of the traditional haiku form. Non-Japanese haiku vary widely on how closely they follow traditional elements.
In 1973, the “Haiku Society of America” noted that the norm for writers of haiku in English was to use 17 syllables, but they also noted a trend toward shorter haiku. Shorter haiku are very much more common in 21st century English haiku writing. About 12 syllables in English approximates the duration of 17 Japaneseon.

engraving winter

Words and pictures together are more potent than either alone. Haiku photography combines an image with a short poem to link the essence of nature with human life. The idea is not to describe, but to allow readers to enjoy a similar experiential feeling that the artist had.
Nature photographers in particular are drawn to haiku to capture singular moments.
Not by giving answers to riddles, but rather by opening doors of consciousness, haiku invites us to observe the immediate moment with our full attention. This is in harmony with the essence of contemplative photography.


How do you make a haiku photograph? Begin by observing a passing moment, like a lightning bolt or a moment of human relations. You can also begin with a memory or association. Then make a camera image.
Think about what you perceived, heard, or sensed during your experience. Your short poem can be about what happened. It can capture what you imagined might have happened. Use simple language when writing your haiku. Let the words give your viewers a new point of view on your image. The best haiku photography does not give answers, it just opens a door. . .

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: One image/One story.

13 thoughts on “Photo haiku

      1. I think native language is the best way for you to connect truly with your heart. It has a particular modulation that reminds you your childhood, your hopes, the unique way you savor the world. I’m so glad you like them! Thanks a lot! 🙂


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