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, I—then newly-acquainted with haiku—chose 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” haiku image.

I spent many days seated at my light box—which holds up to eighty slide transparencies—on 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                    

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