A wife and kids

PhotographerVan Ditthavong
PrizePortraiture / Family
About Photographer

I was born in Vientiane, Laos on November 18, 1974. At that time half way around the world, my father was working on his masterís degree in forestry at Louisiana State University. Soon after my birth, my mother and two older brothers would travel to the US to visit him. Once I was a little bigger, the plan was for my grandmother and me to join the family a few months later. Unfortunately, that plan did not happen. 

 Political turmoil in Laos lead to detention and assignment to re-education camps for those who remained in the country. I was separated from my parents for three years and during that time, no contact was ever made between us. To get out of Laos, I crossed the Mekong River with my aunt and uncle to freedom in Thailand. (It was only last year that my aunt told me that during our flight, the family in front of us stepped on a land mine. They were killed and we were lucky.) Thanks to so many involved, I would finally be reunited with my parents on August 2, 1978 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I grew up outside of Washington D.C. and lived most of my adult life in Boston and New York. I received my undergraduate degree in Business Management from Boston University, but studied photography at the Fashion Institute of Technology and the International Center of Photography in New York City. I now reside in Dallas, Texas.