There is a symmetry between Corky Lee’s passing and the rise of Stop Anti-Asian Hate: the departure of Asian America’s greatest documentarian and its most visible recent efflorescence. Years earlier, the brief window of postwar Asian American radicalism seemed to have already swung shut. Today, our most notable figures are corporate CEOs and conservative politicians, the eponymous Asians rich and crazy, so the artists, revolutionaries, and workers preserved in Lee’s prints can feel as elusive as their author. No matter how distant an Asian American poor people’s movement may seem, his prints still vibrate with radical temporality and potential.
via n+1: https://www.nplusonemag.com/online-only/online-only/corky-lee-and-the-work-of-seeing/
I DID NOT REALLY BELIEVE that Corky Lee would pass away. I heard early reports that the radical photographer had contracted Covid-19 and stayed overnight at the hospital, but then he began to recover. We weren’t close, but he was so ubiquitous, such a fixture at seemingly every Asian American civic event, that he came to feel more familiar than many of my friends. A secretly shy person, he dodged his introversion by simply taking your photograph, or he’d pounce on you with a harangue, his manner paradoxically imposing and self-effacing