Photographic Justice: The Corky Lee Story – Director Jennifer Takaki

For 50 years, Chinese American photographer Corky Lee documented the celebrations, struggles, and daily lives of Asian American Pacific Islanders with epic focus. Determined to push mainstream media to include AAPI culture in the visual record of American history, Lee produced an astonishing archive of nearly a million compelling photographs. His work takes on new urgency with the alarming rise in anti-Asian attacks during the COVID pandemic. Jennifer Takaki’s intimate portrait reveals the triumphs and tragedies of the man behind the lens. Corky Lee was born in 1947 in New York to Chinese immigrants who owned a laundry in Queens. He majored in history at Queens College and became a community organizer in Manhattan’s Chinatown in the 1970s. Over the next five decades he photographed countless protests and cultural events in the Asian American Pacific Islander community. Lee’s photographs documented the birth and growth of the Asian American movement for social justice and he became known as “The Undisputed, Unofficial, Asian American Photographer Laureate.” His death in 2021 at the age of 73 due to COVID was mourned in the press worldwide. Director Jennifer Takaki stops by to talk about meeting Corky Lee over 20years ago, his willingness to be the subject of a documentary, his mentorship of other photo-journalist, and his legacy.


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will be released theatrically in:
New York (DCTV’s Firehouse Cinema) on April 19
Los Angeles (Laemmle Glendale) on April 26


About the filmmaker – Filmmaker Jennifer Takaki  is a fourth generation Japanese American from Colorado. She began her career in journalism  at a Denver TV station and later moved to Hong Kong to work with Encore International. In Hong Kong she produced English-based news programming broadcast in China, India, and the Middle East via Rupert Murdoch’s STAR-TV.  In New York, she produced and directed  “Photographic Justice: The Corky Lee Story” which premiered at DOC NYC and was supported by the Ford Foundation and The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM). She was awarded the prestigious Better Angels Lavine Fellowship in 2023.