In 1989 Lee Gurga and I had our first collaborative haiku/photography
exhibit at Blackburn College, Carlinville, Illinois. Works from
it were later also shown at Gallery 510, for the 1992 Decatur
Midwest Haiku Festival, and for my solo photography show in 1992
at Radford Gallery, Principia College, Elsah, Illinois.
Preparation for the exhibit involved Lee either selecting
from his previously-written haiku or writing new haiku to go
with my photographs, which he had chosen from a collection of
prints. In a few cases, Ithen newly-acquainted with haikuchose
photographs to go with some of the haiku Lee sent to me. Most
of the process was done by correspondence over several months.
This new collaboration, which culminated in an exhibit for
the April, 2000 Decatur Global
Haiku Festival, involved a different process. I poured over
the poems in Lee's book, Fresh Scent, innumerable times.
In much the same way one learns to sing a song by internalizing
the melody, I learned his poems. I then identified possible subjects
suggested by images in them. Later, however, I was delighted
to discover some surprising linkages between poems and photos
that seemed at first totally unrelated: i.e. the chickens crossing
a footbridge which translated into a rural interstate
I spent many days seated at my light boxwhich holds
up to eighty slide transparencieson a meticulous search
through thousands of candidates. In only a few cases did I actually
take some new photographs. Finally, I had 4x6 prints made of
my choices. I mailed them to Lee in several batches. By phone,
Lee and I decided which ones worked best. The finalists could
not exceed the hanging spaces available at the Decatur Exhibit.
This online presentation includes works from the 2000 Decatur
exhibit as well as works for which there was not enough space
to include there. Many thanks to Randy and Shirley Brooks for
inviting me to share these photographs with a global audience.
Gretchen Batz, Elsah, Illinois