Thomas Holton, The Lams of Ludlow Street, is an incredible visual journey of a Chinese family living in Chinatown. Through the photographs, I felt like I was part of their lives and that I may have lived their lives because I am part of an immigrant family as well. The photographs really spoke to me because I can relate to that suffocating feeling of living together, in close quarters, with parents and siblings. I chose the image of the father and his sons. In the image, it’s chaos all around, there’s a tub, a kitchen table, rags hanging from above, a sink and sheets and pillows in the corner. Out from the center of the image, is the father leaning on the tub staring at you. His stare is intense even I had to look away because what lays beyond those eyes are a mystery but something I’ve seen in my father’s eyes. It feels like he’s saying that this is the best he could do and it’s not where he imagined his life. His little boys are staring away from their father, perhaps at the television, completely oblivious. The overall photograph has a sadness and finality to it.
I believe that, Mr. Holton, deliberately kept the camera at eye level, so that as a viewer, you have no choice but to stare at the father. Horizontal lines are created by the objects in the apartment moving the viewer’s eyes left to right. The out of focus boys are creating a frame within a frame, drawing the viewer’s eyes directly to the father. Even though this color photograph doesn’t appear to have much contrast , there’s is a light above the father’s head that’s highlighting him and once again drawing your eyes directly to him. There’s is no doubt that within the chaos of the apartment, the father appears to be a strong pillar of steadiness and as a viewer, you have no choice but to stare at the father.