Corky Lee on My Mind: Marilynn K. Yee

Photographer Marilynn K. Yee

Sign of the Times (June 4, 1989, Chinese Consulate, 42nd Street and 12th Avenue, New York City)

A young girl at a demonstration condemning the military crackdown in Beijing against the Tiananmen Square protests. The number of deaths as a result of the crackdown vary from several hundred to several thousand, with thousands more wounded. This June was the 32nd anniversary of the protests.

(Published in The New York Times, June 5, 1989. Photo courtesy of The New York Times/Marilynn K. Yee.)

How did you know Corky?

“Who doesn’t know Corky? Of course, I’ve met him in Chinatown and got to know him better when he joined the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA). We both worked on getting photos for the AAJA auctions to raise money for their scholarship funds.

“He was a unique and strong person in many ways. He had a calling and vision and passion that he answered and dedicated his life to. His life and work was proof of that passion and dedication. I wold like to think that he thought of me as a friend and colleague as that is what I thought of him. It was a a privilege to know Corky Lee.”


Marilynn K. Yee had always thought of herself as a tiger. However, just a few years ago she discovered that she missed being a tiger by a few days and is actually an ox. "Imagine my shock and disappointment!" she says. "But I have adjusted and accepted my fate."

Painfully shy, Ms. Yee says that photography opened her eyes and allowed her to participate in and with the world. "I was fortunate enough to be able find work as a staff photographer with various papers and locations," she says, stringing with AP and UPI in Sacramento, Ventura Star Free Press, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Los Angeles Times, and finally The New York Times for 37 years as a staff photographer.

"I have been fortunate that I was able to discover my path," continues Ms. Yee. "It has been a wonderful journey filled with family, friends, and discoveries as well as recoveries."

Learn more about Ms. Yee and her work for The New York Times.

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