Eloa Defly (@eloadefly) continues to show us his unique perspective of his home city of Macau, drawing attention to the harmonious melding of Portuguese and Chinese cultures.
If you missed Part I of this series, check it out here.
You talk about Macau being a multi-faceted city with its characteristics often in opposition with one another. Do you think the diversity is well-received, or is it sometimes a source of contention?
Personally, I find the diversity very enriching. Places often have two names: one Portuguese and one Cantonese. Street and road signs feature both languages. There are some local meals, now called “typical Macanese,” that mix both Chinese and Portuguese cuisine. Many buildings represent colonial architectural styles with Neoclassical or Baroque facades, but use local materials (such as granite) and respect the energy principles of Feng Shui. In Macau, cultures come together harmoniously to create something rather unique and beautiful. It’s a very positive thing.
What neighbourhood(s) would you recommend exploring to see this diversity at play?
You can see this diversity everywhere you go, on both the main streets and side streets. The area between the inner and outer harbor is considered the city center and is a historical hub; that’s probably a good place to start, and from there you can venture into the travessas (the smaller streets off of the main axis).
Have you seen similar diversity in other cities you’ve visited? Do you look for oppositional characteristics when you travel now that you’re accustomed to seeing them in Macau?
Macau’s sister city, Hong Kong, has similar traits, though the Western influence is British rather than Portuguese. The coexistence of cultures is much the same, but perhaps a bit less exotic feeling. I have visited Malaka in Malaysia, a city that was also under Portuguese influence hundreds of years ago and it – as well as some other neighboring colonies – still have remnants of western influence as well. No place that I have ever visited offers diversity as striking as Macau, though. There is something particularly unique about it here.
You say that Macau “fits into many costumes.” Based on your selected images, it seems the same can be said of your photography — colorful and architectural to black and white minimal. What would you say unites your style?
Monotony and redundancy are not natural. I believe in diversity and in being versatile.
There is an intention behind every single photo and the vision behind the composition is what guides my editing process. I constantly pay attention to details and harmony. I always try find a balance between black and white, proximity and infinity, minimalism and amalgams. I suppose that is what unites my work: a commitment to consistent diversity, contrast and harmony.
Where do you see Macau’s development – culturally, architecturally, economically – in the next 3 to 5 years?
Macau is in an impasse since it has far passed its carrying capacities in terms of people and traffic. Real estate has become unaffordable and burdensome for locals. But then again, it’s place with a lot of potential, not only culturally but financially. Infrastructure keeps expanding; there are projects to build light rail trains and a bridge connecting to Hong Kong to Zhuhai, and new reclaimed lands to be used.
Macau is a place that has changed drastically over the last several decades and I think there is more to come. It’s a city mounted on a time machine, moving quickly, always changing. It’s a place to keep watch of; a place to definitely visit.