Corky Lee on My Mind: Louis Chan

Louis Chan's photo of lion dancers practicing

Practice (1 of 2) (2008, Chinatown, NYC)

Members of the New York Chinese FreeMasons Athletic Club (CFMAC), Hung Chin, train for a lion dance performance. 

How did you know Corky?

"Corky's seminal work of the Asian community inspired me to photograph my own culture and community. During my MFA program, I was making images of Chinatown, CFMAC, and friends' and family's apartments. At the time I had self-doubt about the importance of my work but I had the privilege of meeting Corky through a mutual friend and was able to share my work with him on a digital tablet. He encouraged me to keep pushing on with my photography, especially that related to the Chinese community.

"His exceptional body of work with the Asian community helped me legitimize the importance of my work and the story I'm trying to tell. I eventually made my interior images part of my MFA thesis. He saw my work materialize from conception — on the computer screen — to six by nine-foot prints. The work even traveled to Knoxville, TN for my first solo show!

“Corky reminds me to keep photographing, and keep documenting. No matter how small or big the moment may be, photographing preserves our (Asian community) existence.”


Louis Chan was born in 1981 in New York City where he is still currently working and living. He is an alumnus of Borough of Manhattan Community College and has a BFA and MFA from Hunter College. He is a doctoral candidate at St. John’s University in educational administration and supervision.   

Chan began photography through analog techniques and processes and now primarily works with digital photography. He had the pleasure of studying photography with the late American artist Roy DeCarava, and is interested in socio-economical issues in his art with a concentration on Chinese-American culture. Chan was a co-contributor of Peripheral Visions: Italian Photography in Context, 1950s–Present, a book that was published in conjunction with an exhibition curated by graduate students under the direction of Professor Maria Antonella Pelizzari. Artforum selected it as one of the best 2012 exhibitions.

He also had a solo show at the University of Tennessee Downtown Gallery and was a Pearl River Mart artist-in-residence. His larger-than-life photos of apartments in New York City's Chinatown were featured in his exhibition "My Home," Pearl River's second photography exhibition after Corky's "Chinese America on My Mind." 

Besides producing his own work, Chan has been working at the Office of Public Affairs at the Borough of Manhattan Community College since 2005. He is the Digital Marketing Coordinator for BMCC. His advertorial work can be seen on subway cars and platforms on a bi-annual basis and in various BMCC promotional materials such as publications, official website, and social media platforms.

Instagram: @mofaux

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