One of the many gifts of studying photography at Harvard with Chris Killip and David Goldblatt was how they introduced me to the work of documentary photographers from past and present who inspired them and shaped the medium. I distinctly remember the first time I saw Bruce Davidson’s Brooklyn Gang. It was eye opening, aesthetically pleasing, empathetic, and energetic—everything I hoped to one day be able to produce in my own work.
This summer, I previewed an early draft of Other Streets with my friend David and it reminded him of work done by his friend, Bruce Davidson. I almost fell out of my chair. You are friends with Bruce Davidson?!? Indeed, he was and he showed Other Streets to Bruce who enjoyed the book very much and was interested in meeting me. I couldn’t believe it.
In November, Bruce, his wife Emily, and his manager Donna warmly welcomed me into their home and office (and darkroom, pictured). We discussed at length his work—past and present—as well as his advice for me. It was a morning I will never forget.
Mark F. Erickson is the author of the photobook Other Streets: Scenes from a Life in Vietnam not Lived.