striking images in this book by the talented photographer George Lee
provide a unique-and intimate-portrait of a Chinese American community
in California that stretches back for more than sixty years.
Born in 1922, Lee was raised in the last of Santa Cruz's Chinatowns.
His early photographs from the 1930s captured the generation of Chinese
American immigrants from the late-nineteenth century who met with vigilante
racism throughout California and were forced to live out the remainder
of their lives in bachelor societies. Lee's stunning portraits provide
them with a grace and dignity found in few other photographs from this
A veteran of both World War II and the Korean War, Lee dedicated his
life to photography and studiously explored his craft until his untimely
death, at the age of 76, in 1998. He served as a photographer for the
Santa Cruz Sentinel for thirty years, recording floods and earthquakes
and building demolitions, and he also contributed several award-winning
images to the Associated Press.
But the subject most dear to his heart was his family. His collected
oeuvre captured five generations of family members-his wife and daughter,
mother and siblings, nieces and nephews, in-laws and shirt-tail cousins-so
that by the end of his life he had provided an unparalleled record of
the Chinese American experience in California.
With text by seven of Lee's friends and family members-all well-known
Northern California writers-Chinatown Dreams: The Life and Photography
of George Lee celebrates not only Lee's artistic achievements,
but the man himself. This book confirms his significant contribution
to American documentary photography.
photographer George Lee (1922-1998) chronicled five generations of a
Chinese American community on the Central California coast. Chinatown
Dreams offers a multicultural appreciation of Lee's life and his
impressive collection of documentary photographs.
Geoffrey Dunn, a longtime family friend of George Lee's,
is an award-winning journalist, filmmaker and historian living in Santa
Lisa Liu Grady, Lee's cousin-by-marriage, is a freelance
writer with nonfiction publications in the San Francisco Chronicle and
San Francisco Examiner.
Tony Hill, founder of Access Unlimited, currently serves
as the creator of "Welcoming Diversity" workshops and seminars.
James D. Houston, is the author of a dozen works of
fiction and nonfiction exploring the cultures and histories of the western
United States and the Asia/Pacific region.
Lydon is Historian Emeritus at Cabrillo College and is the
author of Chinese Gold: The Chinese in the Monterey Bay Region.
Morton Marcus has published nine volumes of poetry
and one novel, and his work has been selected to appear in over seventy-five
anthologies in the United States, Europe and Australia.
Mark Stuart Ong has been a book designer for more than
twenty-five years, and his designs have won multiple awards from Bookbuilders
West and the Association of American University Presses.
George Ow, Jr., George Lee's nephew, is a Santa Cruz
businessman, land developer, publisher and body-boarder.
Chinatown Dreams Here