SUNLANDERS by Sean Lotman x HAPTIC: Only for a limited time

Back by popular demand, HAPTIC will feature the work of SUNLANDERS by Sean Lotman. (Pick up your limited signed edition in the HAPTIC SHOP)

Postcards from the Darkroom Series

Sean Lotman shares the personal stories behind his most famous photos from SUNLANDERS in the Postcards from the Darkroom feature on Haptic Press.


Sometimes it really is all about connections. I have a friend whose father is a big fan of sumo and is a friend of a coach based in Osaka. Early winter mornings, in a very ordinary suburban neighborhood is a nondescript building, I’ve been invited to several sessions to watch them practice. It is startling to see these athletes collide. Sometimes the victories are decisive but often it appears like an immovable object is meeting an irresistible force, particularly during that moment of impact when two aggressively trained bodies meet with focused momentum. You don’t see how one of them can give and then one does and when you’re watching up close, a few meters away, it is as exciting as any contest of wills you’ve ever seen. So it was fascinating for me to view the wrestlers after a fierce practice session looking so vulnerable in prostate positions on the mat. It was a whole new of seeing them.

Pick up a copy of Sean Lotman’s Sunlanders available for a limited time in the HAPTIC SHOP.


Photography can be like a spiritual exercise. Through a camera, you are learning about yourself, who you are, what do you see, figuring out what the world looks like, or better, what it can look like. I like reality all right, but I prefer surrealism. I don’t go for fantasy so much as I go for strange twists in narrative. There are many ways to tell a story, just as there are many ways to make a picture. It may seem as straightforward as pointing a camera, but there are hundreds of choices, most of them seemingly meaningless, but some quite substantial, that put you in this place, in this moment right now. That you might even be able to see at all is often a choice as well. This was seen in a garden outside of Kyoto, stepping out of a tea room, four souls reflected to me, turned upside down.


In spring, 2012, there was a partial eclipse over Japan. My wife and I were staying by the Kamo River and were able to view it for a few minutes with special glasses, but I was more interested in seeing the crowds staring up at the sky. So I rode down the river, marveling at the many sorts of people pausing in their day to absorb a cosmic event. It was a harmonious moment, so many different walks of people doing as one, almost genuflecting at the phenomenon. I must have photographed two dozen on my journey, but this one of a salaryman in his 火の鳥 (firebird) glasses resonates most, so much so that it is included in my photo book, Sunlanders.

Pick up a copy of Sean Lotman’s 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.

Sean Lotman x Haptic Featured Artist


A native of Los Angeles, California, Sean Lotman is based in Japan. Having spent most of his twenties and thirties working on narrative fiction, he is now focused on photography, particularly color darkroom printing. His first photo book, Sunlanders, was published in London by Bemojake in September, 2016. He is currently working on his second book, Blown Zen Moments, which pairs prints made with the Dian f+ toy camera with haiku poetry. He lives in Kyoto with his wife, the photographer Ariko Inaoka, and their young son, Tennbo.

Pick up a copy of Sean Lotman’s Sunlanders available for a limited time in the HAPTIC SHOP.




The Complete Works of Sean Lotman

Portrait of Sean Lotman, Kyoto 2017 by Eric Kim

Selfie our Cindy and our friend at local market in Marseille
Selfie our Cindy and our friend at local market in Marseille

Happy Holidays from the HAPTIC family. We are excited to announce the following new products in our HAPTIC shop:

Eric and I will be taking some time off with our family and will partially close the HAPTIC shop December 26, 2017 to January 24, 2017. A limited inventory of our products will be available on Amazon (Street Notes, Henri wrist strap, MASTERS, Photo Journal,and more) and shipped as usual until supplies run out. During this period only the digital products,  shirts, and Sunlanders by Sean Lotman will be available for purchase in the HAPTIC shop.


Thank you so much for the love and support over this year. Let’s ring in the new year with a new sense of hope, excitement, and creative curiosity!

Hugs from Marseille,



Selfie with Cindy in Saigon hotel with lipstick kiss in mirror. 2017
Cindy Nguyen. CEO of HAPTIC

Proud of all the women of HAPTIC. We are majority women led, family operated industry and are driven by a spirit of experimentation and creative collaboration. We are not anonymous. Our products are a story.


(Thuy (Cindy’s mom) and Sukhee (Eric’s mom) talk about helping out on team HAPTIC.

Saigon Satchel

HAPTIC is not an anonymous factory. Our books and art are made, printed, sourced in California. Our leather products are 100% handmade in direct collaboration with Vietnamese artisans and artists Lan, Uyen and Khai. Cindy (and her mom Thuy when she’s on the road) personally packages your HAPTIC books, camera straps, art from California and ships anywhere in the world.

We believe in disrupting the production market for photography, art, and creative tools. We are transparent about the labor practices behind HAPTIC because we are proud and love everything we make.


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