Robin Michals | COMD 1340 Photography 1

HW1 – Composition

The image I chose is called “Playing on the Roof” by Thomas Holton from The Lams of Ludlow Street. The collection of photos depicts what it is like for a Chinese family to live and grow up in New York City’s Chinatown. Not just a novelty, a tourist attraction, or a place on a postcard. But a multicultural style of living. As a half-Chinese photographer, Mr. Holton never felt like he fit in with the neighborhood or the culture of Chinatown, just a mere visitor. By having his “subject matter” focus on the Lams’ family in Chinatown, he feels more emotionally connected to the culture and understands more about the Chinatown family. Looking at this picture makes me nostalgic for a carefree weekend spent playing with the kids next door. The bright white background behind the girls makes it seem like only this hallway and staircase existed, just a fragment of a childhood memory.

The most important elements of compositions that I can see from Steve McCurry’s video are the diagonal, figure to ground, and leading line. The diagonal line from the staircase leads the viewer’s eyes from the bottom left of the picture toward the top and ends at the focal point of the picture with a bright white background, contrasted by the silhouette of the girl. The bright pink jacket that the girl wears also stands out against the monotone color palette of whites, grays, and dark blues. Creates a nice figure-to-ground relationship. The contrast pulls the viewer’s attention to the focal point of the picture and enhances its visual impact. The prominent and sharp leading line from the ceiling of the hallway cast by the long fluorescent lights also meets the diagonal lines from the staircase. This leading line, almost perpendicular to the diagonal lines of the staircase, adds a layer to the visual of the composition.

1 Comment

  1. rmichals

    You state Holton’s intention well. He shows us what it is like to live in Chinatown from the point of view of a resident, not a tourist. And as you say, by shooting this series, Holton got to know more about himself. A lot of students react with nostalgia to the images of the Lam kids and children. the images capture something about growing up in NYC more generally not just in Chinatown.

    As you state, diagonals, leading lines and figure to ground are all important here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2024 COMD1340WedSpr24

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑