M.H. RubinPhotographic Haiku and Composition Retreat

May 21 - 25, 2023 Go back
screen shot 2022 05 31 at 6_24_59 pm

“Photographic haiku” is a new approach to dynamic composition, storytelling, and photographic poetry. Part street photography and part personal photojournalism, it can be explored easily by anyone, anywhere, even with a smartphone. Unlike many approaches to photography, it doesn’t require special equipment or exotic locations.

Check In: May 21, 2023
Check Out: May 25, 2023

Tuition + Meals: $1,135
With TreeHaus Lodging Package: $1,651 
With RicePod Lodging Package: $1,991 
With Nest Lodging Package: $2,251 

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  • Class description
  • Bio
  • Supply List
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Class description

Why do we create images, and how do we decide what is worth photographing? How do you improve and challenge yourself when you’re already good? This workshop has answers. And new challenges.

Welcome to “photographic haiku,” a new approach to creative picture-taking. About a decade ago, Rubin found the aesthetic properties of many historic and beautiful photographs followed the attributes of haiku. This made for something both inspiring and teachable. 

Powerful DSLRs and modern phone-cameras can deliver beautiful personal images for everyone, but they highlight the aspects of photography that have never been technical: What makes a photo interesting? What is good composition? 

In this popular workshop, Rubin uses examples from his own work in combination with numerous historic prints from Adams, Tice, Callahan, Kertesz, Erwitt, Weston, and dozens of others drawn from his private collection, to further his insights in the creative image-making process.

Additionally, the course draws on the creative and aesthetic principles inherent in ikebana (flower arranging), enso (calligraphy), kintsugi (ceramic repair), origami (paper folding), and bonsai (miniature trees). Taken together, these Zen arts are a powerful philosophy that we will use to support our photographic growth. This haiku-approach also speaks to capturing “the decisive moment,” as Cartier-Bresson described, which we explore throughout.

This workshop is designed for anyone who wants to take more interesting and poetic images in their everyday lives.


BONUS: One afternoon there will be an opportunity to explore more intimate haiku with nude models; if this isn't of interest to you, a self-guided photo project will be provided.


  • A new way to look at and think about their every day picture taking


MH Rubin has been a photographer and collector for more than 40 years, newly relocated to Santa Fe after decades in the Bay Area. As a young protégé of Jerry Uelsmann, he began by creating images that were both structured but surreal. Rubin’s work continues to meld the abstract with the intimate; he embraces the passion of the amateur and evangelizes photographic exploration for consumers. He manages a photo collection of thousands of classical works of mid-century modernism, always incorporated into his workshops, and has spent the past years developing this new curriculum in photographic education.

Concurrent with photography, he has had an entrepreneurial career that has spanned industries such as publishing, consumer retail, entertainment media, and technology. Career highlights include Lucasfilm, Netflix, and Adobe. He has had editing and post-production roles on numerous television and movie projects, including the miniseries “Lonesome Dove,” and the Bertolucci feature “The Sheltering Sky.”

Rubin has a degree in neuroscience from Brown University. He is a colorful storyteller and entertaining educator, the author of hundreds of essays, and a dozen books primarily on filmmaking—including a history of Lucasfilm and Pixar “Droidmaker: George Lucas and the Digital Revolution.”

Contact Website Follow
rubin@neomodern.com neomodern.com Instagram | Facebook

Supply List

  • A camera for which they have good understanding of picture taking, a laptop for the editing of those photos.
  • No tripods, lights, or other gear is required. Cameras can be of any type, but it's important to travel light