Robin Michals | COMD 1340 Photography 1 DO97

Homework #1 Composition

Playing on the Roof by Thomas Holton

The photograph that most spoke to me is entitled Playing on the Roof by photographer Thomas Thomas Holton. Playing on the Roof is one of a four-part series entitled “The Lams of Ludlow Street”. The subject matter is an intimate glimpse into Chinese family life in New York City’s Chinatown neighborhood. Photographer Thomas Holton set out to break through stereotypes usually associated with the famous New York City neighborhood by providing viewers an opportunity into locals’ daily lives. The series of photographs draw the viewer into the narrative, following the Lam family over several years as they experience various milestones along with the ups and downs that come with everyday life. Holton noted that the experience with his “subject matter” was so intimate that the Lams’ ultimately began feeling like they were his family. Holton also noted that the experience left him with a better understanding of human nature and the uncertainty of life’s plans. In viewing other photographs from the series, one can understand how Holdens’ experience with the Lams’ changed him and his worldview.  

The photograph Playing on the Roof communicates a sense of playfulness and an uplifting mood. I felt the playfulness is both conveyed through Holton’s use of leading lines and diagonals as it challenges the viewers’ eye on where to focus. Additionally, the image’s mood is emphasized further through the strong use of light and framing of the subject. 

1 Comment

  1. rmichals

    Your general comments about Holton’s work are nicely stated. the assignment though asked for more specific observations about the photo you selected. This image is above all a great example of a frame within a frame. It also does use leading lines as the perspective lines of the stairs lead to the child.

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