Corky Lee Photography Book Captures Untold Stories

Corky Lee Photography Book

A boy from a junior high school in New York just wondered about the situations of Asian Americans and dedicated his whole life to documenting the lives of Asian Americans. The day we celebrate as Corky Lee Day is a remembrance day in memory of the famous photographer, Corky Lee. He used his photographic skills to represent people’s problems. When you look at his recently released book, Corky Lee’s Asian America, you will be amazed at the accuracy and precision of his work. Today in this blog post, we will explore Corky Lee’s photography book and how they reflect many untold stories. 

Who is Corky Lee?

Corky Lee was a Chinese American photographer born to a Chinese family living in New York. He completed his studies and received an American degree. He was an activist and a passionate photographer. He utilized his photography skills to reflect the lives of Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI). Corky Lee also captured photos of many events, such as protests, parades, and festivals. His collection of photographs reflects the struggles and hardships of different cultures and communities. He was known for capturing impactful moments with his camera. His famous works have been published in major reputed publications such as Times Magazine and The New York Times.

Corky Lee Photography Book

Exploring Corky Lee Photography Book

On April 9, 2024, one of the most impactful works was published in the form of a book named ‘Corky Lee’s Asian America: Fifty Years of Photographic Justice’ by Clarkson Potter. 

Corky Lee Photography Book

The book is a 300-page collection of the most iconic photographs he captured. The book represents the 50-year history of Asian Americans.

The book reflects the culture, history, and social justice of Asian Americans.

With over 200 iconic photographs, the book is about the journey of Corky Lee and their exploration of Asian Americans.

How did Corky Lee Photography Book Influence the Photography Industry?

From birthday bashes to civil rights marches, photography preserves what matters. With a click, catch a giggle, or chronicle a changing world. Photography does it all! 

One such famous example is Corky Lee, who genuinely used their photography talent to capture the history and diverse culture of Asian Americans.

His work sparked a fire – organizations everywhere rose up to fight the good fight! 

For example. In 1975, Lee clicked a photo where a few police officers were dragging an injured boy. When published on the front page of The New York Post, this photo spread like a fire in the forest and encouraged protests to stand against police brutality.

Corky Lee Photography Book

Corky Lee Photography Book

His work encourages other photographers to capture photos, which brings about change in society.

Impact of Corky Lee Photography Book

Corky Lee’s book increased the talk show about Lee’s work and their contribution to capturing the most impactful photographs of Asian Americans.

His camera portrays the lives of Asian Americans and how they faced injustice and struggled with resilience.

Corky Lee’s photography book is not just about the visuals; it’s about the diverse culture he explored.

Corky Lee Photography Book

From large protests against injustice to amusing parties, he explored the everyday lives of Asian Americans and captured them with his camera.

During the period of the 1990s, the image of Asians was rendered invisible or stereotyped, but his work recreated the image of Asian Americans. And, In 1998, May 5 was designated as Corky Lee Day.

Corky Lee Photography Book
Photographer and Journalist Corky Lee Featured in Google Doodle for AAPI Heritage Month.

When you look at the book, you can see the dedication of his work and how beautifully he depicted the life experiences of Asian Americans.


With the incredible contribution of Corky Lee, people were able to see the struggle and culture of the Asian-Pacific American community. In 1988, David Dinkins (New York City Mayor) honored Corky Lee by designating May 5 as a ‘Corky Lee Day.’ With his recently released Corky Lee photography book, people are amazed to see how one man can affect millions of lives.

FAQs About Corky Lee Photography Book

Q1. What is Corky Lee known for?

Ans. He was known for his contribution to reflecting the life of Asian Americans with his camera.  

Q2. How many awards did Corky Lee win?

Ans. Corky Lee won various reputed awards such as

  • New York Press Association Award 2002
  • Photographer-Artist-in-Residence Award
  • Pioneer Award
  • Special Recognition Award
  • Susan Ahn Award for Civil Rights and Social Justice for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and many more.

Q3. What inspired Corky Lee to document the lives of Asian Americans?

Ans. When this question was asked of Corky Lee, he said, “When I was in school, I heard and saw photos about the celebration of the completion of the railroad. Sadly, nobody talks about the Chinese laborers who dedicated their time to building the railroad. This felt deeply in my heart and inspired me to explore his life and struggle.”

READ MORE: A Comprehensive Guide To Types of Aerial Photography

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