Mark F. Erickson aka Đỗ Văn Hùng is the author of the photobook Other Streets: Scenes from a Life in Vietnam not Lived.
Mark's photobook has been exhibited at the L.A. Center of Photography, the Davis Orton Gallery, the Griffin Museum of Photography, and Evergreen Valley College. He has been profiled in The Photobook Journal, diaCRITICS: the arts & culture of the Vietnamese and SE Asian diaspora, VVA (Vietnam Veterans of America) Books, Chopsticks Alley, and Harvard Magazine.
Mark was born in Saigon in 1972, evacuated as part of Operation Babylift in April 1975, and adopted by an American family in western New York. At Harvard College, he studied documentary photography with Chris Killip (United Kingdom) and David Goldblatt (South Africa). He currently works in New York City.
In 1972, I was born Đỗ Văn Hùng in Saigon, Vietnam. In the closing days of the war, as part of Operation Babylift, I was evacuated on a Pan American Airways 747, adopted in western New York, and renamed Mark F. Erickson. Growing up, I knew and thought nothing of Vietnam and only passively learned about it from the stories America was telling itself about the war, mainly through the movies of the 1980s. As a student at Harvard College, I made my first Vietnamese-American friends, studied Vietnamese history from a Vietnamese perspective with Hue-Tam Ho Tai, and learned documentary photography with Chris Killip and David Goldblatt. From Killip and Goldblatt, I learned how powerful photo essays challenged the national narratives of the English (In Flagrante), the South Africans (In Boksburg), and the Americans (Robert Frank’s The Americans). In 1993, I returned to Vietnam with my manual 35mm film camera to see my birth country with my own eyes. Through these images of ordinary people doing ordinary things in ordinary places, I had a glimpse into a life I never had the opportunity to live. And twenty-five years later, it is also a glimpse into a Vietnam—now transformed by rapid economic growth—that no longer exists.