Finding beauty in a city with a troubled reputation

West of the East — A journey through Macau, Asia’s first and last colony

For the wraparound cover of this book, we selected this image of a maritime school the author photographed near dusk, accentuating the colors of Macau, which she was particularly drawn to.
THE TASK

Cindy Ho came to us with nearly four thousand images she had taken of Macau on the eve of its handover to China in 1999. Her goal was to reveal the distinctiveness of Macau, formerly a Portuguese territory on the southern coast of China, and the ways it contrasted with both the Mainland and Hong Kong. We were asked to help produce a volume that would appeal to local residents and readers around the world.

MEETING THE CHALLENGE

Macau was Europe’s first gateway to China. It was once among the richest cities on earth. But nowadays, to those who have heard the name Macau, it is no more than a gambling destination with a seedy reputation for violence, crime and corruption. So where’s the beauty? What happens when the memory of one people collides with the nostalgia of another? What cultural distinction results from a people, predominantly of Chinese descent, after more than four centuries of western rule?

We organized, edited and curated the material into West of the East. The book covers topics representative of Macau in fourteen chapters with 218 color and black-and-white photographs, accompanied by texts describing personal impressions, maps and statistical information. West of the East is more than a personal essay. It provides a glimpse of the last colony in Asia on the eve of change as it returns to Chinese rule at the end of 1999, days before the dawn of the new millennium.

THE RESULT?

A BOOK OF TIMELY SIGNIFICANCE

On the eve of change.