Using his camera as a “weapon against injustice,” in “Photographic Justice: The Corky Lee Story” – May 13 at 10 pm

Posted on:

< < Back to

Photographic Justice: The Corky Lee Story

Monday, May 13 at 10 p.m.


Using his camera as a “weapon against injustice,” Chinese American photographer Corky Lee’s art is his activism. His unforgettable images of Asian American life empowered generations. This film’s intimate portrait reveals the triumphs and tragedies of the man behind the lens.

Crowded photo of Asian Americans , some laying, some kneeling some standing during an apparent protest“Photographic Justice: The Corky Lee Story” honors this photographer’s epic quest to document Asian American history, culture, and activism for five decades. His vast archive of nearly a million compelling images is now recognized as perhaps the largest visual record of contemporary Asian American Pacific Islander history.

Corky was a ubiquitous presence at every cultural and political AAPI event in New York – from Filipino Independence Day to Tibetan New Year to Muslim Unity Day – he was determined to represent the diversity of the diaspora. He photographed east coast Asian Americans marching for equal rights in housing and jobs, protesting against the Vietnam War, and taking a stand against police brutality. His photography became “an organizing tool for social change.”

Despite his celebrated status within the AAPI community, Lee’s photography was often done on a volunteer basis and he struggled to find time to pursue it while maintaining a full-time job, marriage, and family commitments.

The Covid pandemic only increased Corky’s sense of urgency in continuing his work. His final photographs were taken in the aftermath of a vicious hate crime in the subway – where Corky may have contracted a fatal case of Covid-19, making the ultimate sacrifice for his community. His tragic passing was a huge loss and mourned internationally in all major media ranging from CNN to Time to National Public Radio. Our film has become a rare archive of his life and work.