/, hong kong, new books, publishing/The Eurasian Face: a photographic project

The Eurasian Face: a photographic project

Once shunned as the result of forbidden liaisons, and confined to set roles in society, Eurasians are now celebrated as models and actors, and find themselves ideally placed to take advantage of the growing commercial and cultural exchanges between Asia and the rest of the world. You might call it a Eu-turn in fortunes.

Kirsteen Zimmern is a Hong Kong-born Eurasian who has always been fascinated by the faces of Eurasians; the tell-tale signs of East and West merging to create a unique yet recognizably Eurasian whole. She has found this fascination to be common even amongst non-Eurasians: few days go by without strangers attempting to dissect her appearance to discern her ethnicity. So she has set out to create a book of portraits and interviews with Eurasians, to reveal how they see themselves today. She explains:

Much of the glory in being Eurasian lies in being different, exotic even. Revelling in our uniqueness, we are nevertheless struck with anxiety over our identity and the human need to belong to an identifiable group of people.

It was partly this contradiction which compelled me to create this book. Through the photographs, I hope to show whilst each Eurasian is unique, we all share a ‘look’ that is distinctively Eurasian, a look that lends us an ethnic identity of our very own. The tell-tale signs of our mixed blood manifest themselves more strongly in some than others – some of us look more Caucasian, some of us more Asian. But in whatever measure, the signs are there. I cannot count the number of times that someone, upon discovering that I am Eurasian, has commented that I do not look Chinese. Why should I? I am not Chinese. I am not Caucasian. I am Eurasian.

The photographs demonstrate, very visually, the result when East meets West. A slanted eye here, a high-bridged nose there. Straight hair, wavy hair. Olive skin, pale, freckled skin. For many Eurasians it is a rare day when our appearance does not invite examination and comment. Our genetic legacy appears to be universally fascinating.

Kirsteen is wrapping up the project this summer, and so we’re putting a call out to any more Eurasians who want to take part. Contact kirsteenzimmern@hotmail.com.

2016-11-24T01:14:47+00:00May 3rd, 2009|authors, hong kong, new books, publishing|6 Comments


  1. Alexander Mamak February 10, 2010 at 3:22 pm - Reply

    Hi Kirsteen – I would very much like to know if your book is published yet, or if not when you expect that it will be out. I was born and raised in HK in the 50s of mixed ancestry–father a Sikh from India, mother of Chinese-Portuguese ancstry from Macau. Some claim that I am the first professional social anthropologist from HK. I have written about Macanese cuisine in a recently published Routledge publication–food and ethnic identity in asia. Good luck on your project. Cheers, Alex

  2. Frankie Fook-lun Leung July 18, 2012 at 4:20 am - Reply

    It would be more interesting and anthropologically significant to find out how Eurasians think and behave to their living environment. Different cultures react differently to people of mixed background, especially from the Eurasian perspective. I have read a few books on the Hotung family descendants. It would be significant if less influential families can also document their own experiences and let the world know more.

  3. Frankie Fook-lun Leung August 23, 2012 at 7:20 am - Reply

    I remember a senior lecturer in sociology in the 1970’s at HKU wrote a very interesting chapter in a book on Hong Kong describing about how European Police Inspectors working in H K were heavily socialized and immersed in H K society whereas those Europeans employed in the other branches of the H K government or private sectors rarely mixed with the local community. Hence there were more mixed marriages among European Police Inspectors with local women than other types of expatriates.

  4. Pete August 23, 2012 at 8:33 pm - Reply

    That’s interesting!

  5. Loz January 11, 2013 at 1:43 am - Reply

    Being Eurasian myself, I have had the exact same idea/dream to produce something like this book – I’m glad someone is doing it! I never knew where to start. I hope I can find a copy. Thank you!

  6. Pete January 18, 2013 at 1:02 am - Reply

    Thanks Loz! It’s in bookshops like Bookazine and Dymocks in Hong Kong or also online at Amazon: http://amzn.com/9889979993

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