Corky Lee on My Mind: Alan S. Chin

Photographer Alan S. Chin with picture

Corky We Love U (2021, Chinatown, NYC)

“Because of Covid precautions (and it was Covid that killed Corky), there was no indoor ceremony and our traditional burning of representational gold, silver, and money was done outside. The procession then wove through the streets of Chinatown slowly, stopping at various spots that had been important over the last decades to the development of Chinese-American activism and community building. The streets were lined with mourners at each spot.”

How do you know Corky?

“I first saw Corky’s photos when I was 12 years old or so,” says Chin while the first time he met Corky in person was in October 2001 when Chin was assigned to photograph him for the New York Times. “Twenty years of friendship and camaraderie followed.”


Alan S. Chin was born and raised in New York City’s Chinatown. Since 1996, he has worked as a freelance photojournalist reporting for The New York Times and other publications from China, the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Central Asia, and Ukraine, as well as extensively in the United States. Alan is also Managing Director of Facing Change: Documenting America / Documenting DETROIT, a community-based photojournalism initiative, and a winner of the 2017 Knight Foundation Detroit Arts Challenge, and 2019 and 2020 National Endowment for the Arts grants. Additionally, Alan is both writing and photographing a book on his ancestral region of Toishan in southern China, and a founding partner of Jet Age Books, a small press specializing in photography books. His images are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the Detroit Institute of Art.

Instagram: @alanschin

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