Shahai is a less familiar term than haiga – the traditional pairing of a haiku with a picture. Shahai is a haiga where the picture is a photographic image.
There are different ways and styles of making shahai, and in this course we concentrate on landscape photography, with the poems added onto the picture, or under it, in graphic text. It’s a longer shahai course than we have run before, and that is because the aim is to make a small portfolio of six pieces of work. There is an optional pre-assignment to help guide you in making choices about how your work will come together. Participants may choose to make their shahai with tanka instead of haiku or senryu, or even just very short poetry!
Level: This course is suitable for any level of experience in photography, from beginners upwards. It’s also suitable for beginners and upwards in writing haiku, especially if you come to the sessions with good photography experience already. However, it would help to get the most out of the course if you already have some experience in writing haiku, tanka or very short poetry. Contact us if you would like an introductory poetry session to help you get started.
Format: Asynchronous – participants work on assignments in their own time, according to the course calendar. The feedback is given in writing and displayed alongside the work in the private online galleries. Participants submit a shahai every two weeks. These are added to a dedicated online gallery, which is private to the course participants, where the poetry tutor and the photography tutor will add feedback notes in the intervening weeks. We will have an informal review at the end of the course, where participants can re-upload their work to show each other changes that they might have made after the feedback.
Outcome: By completing this course, you will have six pieces of shahai work, incorporating a haiku, tanka, or short poem, with photography. Participants will also be encouraged to think about printing, framing, or making gifts from their work, for something long-lasting and tangible in addition to presenting on blogs or social media, and submitting to online journals. Perhaps even think about creating a limited edition of prints from your work!
Equipment Required: You will of course need a camera. We do recommend at least a compact camera, if not a full DSLR camera or similar, but we have had people take part with camera phones, with interesting and worthwhile results! Likewise, a laptop or desktop computer or a good large tablet will enable you to view your own and others’ work more clearly.