Thomas Holton: The Lams of Ludlow Street: Cindy
Artist's Statement:As we all age, our lives take unexpected twist and turns. “The Lams of Ludlow Street” shows how one family’s life continues to unfold in a 350-square foot apartment in New York City’s Chinatown.
Growing up in New York City, I have watched most people regard Chinatown simply as a tourist attraction and a weekend destination for dim sum and cheap counterfeit goods. While I have never lived in Chinatown, my grandparents did, and I knew that Chinatown was more than the images seen in travel brochures and postcards. Although I am half-Chinese and have spent a considerable amount of time in Chinatown, I never experienced a bond or connection to the neighborhood or the culture; I always felt like I was a visitor. At the beginning of this project, I knew I wanted to get behind closed doors and photograph more than the stereotypical images of Chinatown’s street scenes. I wanted to experience more of the neighborhood’s daily life.
I first met Cindy in 2003 when she was two years old. Over time, I became somewhat of an uncle to the Lams’ children and have known them for most of their lives. For the last several years, I have spent most of my time with the youngest Lam, Cindy, as she navigates high school and the college process. With her parents mostly away from Ludlow, she often seems alone and adrift in a world where the demands of her young adulthood are increasingly more and more challenging.