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.
Thomas Holton received his MFA from The School of Visual Arts in 2005. His work has been exhibited widely, including venues such as the New York Public Library, The Museum of the City of New York, The China-Lishui International Photography Festival, and Sasha Wolf Gallery. In 2005, he was one of 24 photographers chosen by the Art + Commerce Festival for Emerging Photographers. In 2006, American Photo magazine named him one of the country’s ten best Young Photographers in the United States. Additionally, “The Lams of Ludlow Street” was featured in Aperture (2007), published three times by The New York Times (2008, 2012 and 2016), as well as in numerous other magazines, newspapers and websites. Kehrer Verlag published his first monograph, “The Lams of Ludlow Street,” in 2016. He lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife and family.