International Photo-Haiku Contest

The 8th Setouchi Matsuyama International Photo-Haiku Contest Your Photo-Haiku in English

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Contest Comments by David McMurray

Year by year, the Setouchi Matsuyama Photo-Haiku Contest in English attracts greater numbers of higher quality entries. In this 8th year of competition, a record-breaking 1,583 photo-haiku in the English language were submitted – 1,256 with photos provided by the contest and 327 with original photos of the sea.
The active convergence of photography and haiku resulted in synergetic art forms. Talented artists created fine art by skillfully composing a haiku and arranging it with an original photo taken somewhere in the world where they have traveled. Some photo-haikuists added elements unseen in the frame of their camera viewfinders. Others helped viewers to feel, hear, smell, and taste what had been experienced. Unique phrases and poetics were crafted to emphasize the focus and lines in their photos. From among 327 entries, a grand prix was selected, 2 awards for excellence were chosen, and 7 photo-haiku were honorably mentioned. These ten truly remarkable photo-haiku reveal the imaginative, aesthetic, and skillful accomplishment of their creators.

Grand Prix

MalaysiaChristina Chin

sunset quietly slips
into text

Comment from the Judge: David McMurray

The grand prix winner shares the quintessence of photo-haiku. A talented artist -- with a flair for haiku, photography, video, and painting – she lives by the sea in Kuching, Sarawak on the island of Borneo. She perfectly described the abstract convergence of real life into art form, of image into words, and of photography into haiku. Seemingly without notice, the harmonious scene of a demure setting sun coupled with faint pastel clouds was transformed into the austere form of a written text message. Real life moved into the medium of a mobile phone text. The wedded lovers are presumably sitting with faces aglow in the ceramic-tiled gazebo by the sea.

Award for Excellence


in the subway
whiff of a
clamming basket

Comment from the Judge: David McMurray

The photo-haikuist presents us with an active shell-gathering scene as well as a lived experience while transiting by train. What appears to be a Chinese family can be seen hunting among barnacles on a rocky coast, and what is described is a curiously tempting scent from the sea as perceived while riding mass rapid transit in a city. These two events may have taken place in Kawasaki where the photo-haikuist lives or in Taipei where he has family ties and likes to vacation. The intriguing combination of sight and smells in two different, yet connected locations makes this photo-haiku worthy of an award for excellence.

Award for Excellence

CroatiaDanijela Grbelja

waiting for spring
a siren song
in the mariner’s heart

Comment from the Judge: David McMurray

An intense photograph of a line of fishing schooners safely tied up in harbor under slate blue winter clouds is combined with a forlorn sense of longing and an imagined luring sound from songbirds in spring. In European mythology, bewitchingly seductive songs by winged-women lured mariners to sail dangerous seas. By creatively adding magical tales and beautiful calls to the eerie sheen of the photograph, readers can share the pathos of a fishermen’s life in Croatia.

Honorable Mentions

  • IndiaSrinivasa Rao Sambangi

    autumn evening
    the boat returns slow
    from backwaters

  • PortugalCorine Timmer

    autumn equinox--
    the ebb and flow
    of a tourist town

  • IndonesiaLucky Triana

    free falling
    off the cliff--
    my shadow

  • JapanJay Ercanbrack

    Until you return
    spending my time
    counting grains of sand

  • PakistanMohammad Azim Khan

    honeymoon cruise
    sunlight through the porthole
    late riser

  • JapanHou Jingli

    blue sea
    an airplane leaves
    me behind

  • CanadaJosephine LoRe

    the symmetry
    of late summer days
    on the water