Marianne M.

Visual Haiku

Mark Robert Barry
UH 210 – Studioless Art
The University of Alabama


Students will use their camera phone to create a visual haiku.


  • Make art within a short, rhythmic structure.
  • Explore the differences between verbal and visual communication.
  • Explore the concept of visual rhythm.


Day 1

  • As a class, discuss the rules and concepts behind haiku poetry.
  • Discuss the concepts of limitations and structure in art making.
  • HOMEWORK: Find 3 to 5 examples of haiku poetry and bring them to class.

Day 2

  • Read the haiku poems out loud to the class.
  • Continue discussion of rhythm and structure.
  • HOMEWORK: Using a camera phone, take photos that visually follow the rhythmic pattern of a haiku poem. (see “What constitutes a ‘visual haiku'” below.)

Day 3

  • Critique the work, paying special attention to the concepts of rhythm and structure.


What constitutes a “visual haiku”? There should be a collection of images that have a short and inherent rhythm similar to a haiku poem. For this assignment, a minimum of 3, and a maximum of 10 photos should be presented.

Do not use text in any way. Do not use images that include text from signs or other existing written communications.

Do not use filters. Simple and straight forward imagery works best. It is not about the individual images being “artsy”. It’s about the collected rhythm that they create when presented together. #nofilter

Do not set up your images. Do not create a still life for any of your photos. Instead, search for existing situations and subjects.

For critique, images should be printed 4×6. Emailing images to yourself—or through another process like Dropbox, etc.—and then saving them to a jump drive will allow you to take them to a film development location (Target has one near their customer service desk into which you can directly plug your phone) and print quality images. Please no lo-res, or low quality prints.

Do not endanger anyone. Do not create work that strikes, trips, lacerates, distracts, or potentially injures anyone (including yourself) in any way.

Do not damage University or private property. Your work should not include any process that would lead to University or private property (unless it is your own) being damaged or altered in any way.


Students are evaluated with consideration to craftsmanship, effort, following directions, and high quality participation during critique.

Student Examples

John A.
John A.
Marianne M.
Marianne M.
Sarah J.
Sarah J.
Caitlin T.
Caitlin T.
Annie Y.
Annie Y.
Amy N.
Amy N.

Featured Image: Marianne M.