Thomas Holton

Edie Bresler 

May 16 to June 21, 2015 

Reception: Saturday, May 16, 6-8pm

portfolio showcase 
 Call for Entries:  Deadline: April 15
The Immigrant Experience / First Generation /Refugees / Workers/ Students

Thomas Holton, The Lams of Ludlow Street

spring break 2014 by Thomas HoltonSpring Break 2014 by Thomas Holton

Edie Bresler, We Sold a Winner

The Patel Family by Edie Bresler
The Patel Family:  Considered a very lucky store by neighborhood players, they have sold two $1,000,000 scratch tickets in the last ten years. 

About the Artists

Thomas Holton, The Lams of Ludlow Street

BathTime from Lams of Ludlow St by Thomas HoltonBath time, 2003 by Thomas Holton

Artist Statement: In The Lams of Ludlow Street, one family’s life, from 2002 to the present, unfolds in a 350 square foot apartment in New York City’s Chinatown.

Growing up in New York City I observed that most people regard Chinatown simply as a tourist attraction and a weekend destination for dim sum and cheap counterfeit goods.  Although I am half-Chinese and have spent a considerable amount of time there, I never experienced a bond or connection to the neighborhood or the culture. While my grandparents had lived in Chinatown, I always felt 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 daily life of Chinatown.

In 2002, while accompanying a local housing advocate for several months, I met the Lam family (Steven, Shirley, Michael, Franklin and Cindy) on one of our home visits.  From then to 2005, I photographed the Lams, returning several times with prints. Shirley and Steven were always very friendly and welcomed me into their home.  I increasingly began to participate in their everyday family rituals and to recognize the dynamics and relationships within their family.  Eventually, I began to feel like family.

While I always maintained contact with the Lams, I didn’t photographed them again until 2010 when I felt compelled to capture the new reality in their lives. The Lams had gone through some usual and unusual circumstances, which changed the tone and atmosphere in a heavier, lonelier direction. The family I photographed earlier now seemed broken up physically and emotionally.  The parents were no longer a married couple but technically still living together at Ludlow Street.  For the children, schoolwork became more time consuming and difficult, and playtime was over.  In addition, all three Lam children were now teenagers, which brought its own complex emotional and physical issues.

The photographs made since 2013 presents another chapter in the Lams’ lives. Steven and Shirley are now divorced, and Steven has moved to New Jersey. De­spite the official break, I am spending more of my time with the Lams as a whole family. There seems to be a sense of peace and closure in their lives. While it is far from perfect, whose life is?’

Even though I have been involved with photography since the age of fifteen, I never expected to become so close and emotionally tied to my “subject matter.”  We live in a complex world where cultures mix and influence one another either subconsciously or deliberately.  There are no universal life plans.  I am who I am because of my family history, while the Lams are who they are.  The questions I have always had regarding my Chinese half were ultimately addressed in a completely different experience than I originally envisioned as I began to understand the Chinatown family I never had.

Bio: Photographer Thomas Holton’s work has been exhibited widely, including: The Museum of the City of New York, New York Public Library, Sasha Wolf Gallery and the China-Lishui International Photography Festival. In 2005 he was one of the twenty-four photographers chosen by the Art + Commerce Festival for Emerging Photographers, and in 2006, American Photo magazine named him one of the country’s ten best Young Photographers.

Kehrer Verlag will publish his work, The Lams of Ludlow Street, as a hardbound monograph in the fall of 2015. Additionally, the Lams work was published in Aperture (2007), featured twice by The New York Times (2008 and 2012) as well as published in numerous other magazines, newspapers and websites.

Holton received his MFA from The School of Visual Arts in 2005 He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Edie Bresler, We Sold a Winner

owner and winner, herndon VA by -Edie BreslerOwner and Winner, Herndon VA by Edie Bresler’

Artist Statement:  My photographs and their accompanying stories are portraits of resilience, desire, seduction and a changing American dream. I focus on main street America through the lens of state lotteries. In towns and cities across the country, small family owned convenience and liquor stores are the largest group of retailers selling lottery tickets. Many owners are immigrants while others are the third or fourth generation to run the family business. They are hard-working small business owners looking for their piece of the American dream. If they sell a winning jackpot ticket they receive a bonus commission, ranging from $5000 to $500,000 depending on state rules. Owners who sell a winning ticket that is never claimed, do not receive their bonus commission and every year hundreds of millions of dollars in winning tickets are unclaimed. In Wyoming where instant scratch tickets are banned, players cross over the border to try their luck in Colorado. In Virginia, a family of five manages a small shop together. They are owners who also play and recently won a $3 million jackpot. The mother and one of the daughters continue to play everyday.

This complex local economy is massive and often overlooked. Since 9/11, the US government has spent $536 billion on the war in Afghanistan while Americans spent $532.6 billion buying lottery tickets. In lieu of higher taxes, state-sponsored gaming sells hope through hype. Whether you are pro, con or indifferent, it is likely your community relies on its share of lottery profits. I seek greater awareness and empathy for the people and places on the front line of this hidden economy and the value they provide within our communities.

Bio: Edie Bresler has exhibited in solo shows at the Irene Carlson Gallery of Photography in California; the Griffin Museum of Photography and the Boston Center for the Arts in Massachusetts; Visual Studies Workshop and CEPA in New York and in numerous group exhibitions. She is a Critical Mass 2014 finalist. Features include Slate Magazine, Photo District News, Lenscratch, Business Insider, Esquire Russia, Feature Shoot, the PBS show Greater Boston with Emily Rooney, Virgin Airlines Voyeur Magazine, and Social Documentary. Bresler has been awarded grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Somerville Arts Council, Simmons College Faculty Fund for Research, and the Berkshire Taconic Artist Resource Trust. She writes regularly for Photograph Magazine and leads the photography program at Simmons College in Boston.

Portfolio Showcase
Deadline: April 15