Corky Lee on My Mind: Hai Zhang

Photographer Hai Zhang with picture

Chinese in the Bronx from the Beginning series (January 2019, New York)

“From 2018 to 2019, I was doing a year long photographic survey in Harlem and the Bronx. Apart from the Chinese take-outs, the survey encountered numerous traces of Asian-Americans in these neighborhoods."

Including martial arts star Bruce Lee. Corky would have been a young man just starting his photography career when Bruce Lee burst onto the scene. Corky long admired Lee, jokingly calling himself “Bruised Lee” as both an homage and a nod to the injuries he sustained fighting injustice.

How did you know Corky?

“Corky to me is a true documentarian who sticks to the fundamental disciplines — facts, persistence and patience. Almost anytime when I went to photograph in Chinatown and events, Corky was always there focusing on documenting. I really regretted that I didn’t have a chance to know him personally but his works are always an invaluable inspiration.”


Hai Zhang is a Chinese-born photographer based in New York. He is interested in photography as a vital tool to investigate the context whether alien or familiar. Zhang is also interested in applying photography to various medias such as collage, artist book, video and installation. He makes all applications as integral investigative process to examine the subjects and photography itself. Zhang has exhibited internationally in museums and galleries in New York, Europe, Russia, Turkey, Coast Rica and Asia. He was nominated for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2014. In 2019, a series of Zhang’s photographs and collages based on his decade-long project in Alabama was included in the permanent collection by the Library of Congress.


Instagram: @ocean_mate

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