Postcards from the Darkroom Series

“Postcards from the Darkroom is a new feature on Haptic Press by Sean Lotman. All images posted will be scans of his color prints handmade in his darkroom. A lover of narrative and color and travel, Sean hopes to tell a story or at least convey a feeling. He is the author of Sunlanders (Available for a limited time in the HAPTIC SHOP).”


Who is this driver? Is he waiting for us? Where would he take us in a town like this?


After I secured a publishing deal for my photo book, Sunlanders, the most challenging aspect of making the book was not selecting the physical materials or deciding where to print, but how to structure the photo book so that it had two particular strengths (which I believe all good photo books share), that is: a) an aesthetic vibe, and b) a narrative. While it was tough deciding on whether to include or dismiss many images, I was always certain this image, “The Taxi,” would be the first picture of the book. It establishes the mood with its wild colors, the Technicolor light, the moodiness. Importantly, it establishes the narrative as well. I tried to put together an otherworldly Japan, a surreal place that is more dream than reality. The taxi is there to pick us up, to take us on the ride. It’s the opening act of a story.


The image itself was shot in a remote town called Noheji in Northern Honshu, Japan’s main island. I was on my way to somewhere else and had 20 minutes to idle while changing trains. I’d stepped out of the station just after a woman had disembarked.
The light was perfect, the streets eerily empty, the driver mine. There is so much good fortune in street photography, but you need to believe in it.

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