Today we have the opportunity to take beautiful digital photos and to add a text directly to the images. These two ingredients allow us to experiment with an early art form known as haiga. Traditionally haiga is a Japanese invention that combines a sumi-e (an image painted with an ink brush) and a three line haiku or a five line tanka poem, hand-lettered on the same piece of paper. The art lies in the subtle relationship between the two.
The painting, drawing, or photo is not simply an illustration of the poem, nor is the poem a caption for the picture. Each element should stand alone — yet in juxtaposition, the two resonate to add a deeper and more complex meaning to the total work.
Drawings, paintings or photographs may be presented with little or no adjustment, or they may be manipulated until the original is nearly unrecognizable. Photographs can be used as a starting point. The text or poem can be hand lettered, scanned, pasted to the image, or applied directly using the font capability of a software program. Through haiga, the old and the new are blended into a unique, multimedia artistic experience.