Manolo Ty "Tropics & Traditions" - Book Interview
21.5.2024

Manolo Ty "Tropics & Traditions" - Book Interview

Tropics & Traditions | © teNeues Verlag

Tropics & Traditions

Tales of Indonesia

256 pages

23,5 x 30 cm | 9 1/4 x 11 4/5 in.

approx. 200 color and b/w photographs

€ 60 | $ 70 | £ 49,95
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"Tropics & Traditions - Tales of Indonesia" is a visually stunning coffee table book that takes us on a journey through Indonesia. Photographer Manolo Ty guides us through the beauty and untouched nature of this unique island archipelago. From the most remote indigenous peoples to the overwhelming metropolises, we experience Indonesia from all its sides. 

Undeveloped jungles, lonely islands, mighty volcanoes or dreamlike coral reefs - we experience the great country like never before in impressive photographs. In the impressive coffee table book "Tropics & Traditons", Manolo Ty always tells exciting stories that underline his impressive photographs.

To find out more about the coffee table book and Manolo Ty's inspiration, work and motivation, read our exclusive interview:

Indonesia is one of the most populous countries in the world. How do you manage to depict such a country in a book?

For Tropics & Traditions, I traveled through Indonesia for seven months over a period of five years to capture the country and its people. It really is huge. The size is the same as the distance from London to Afghanistan. There are 274 million inhabitants and around 300 different ethnic groups who speak 700 languages and dialects and live scattered across an archipelago of 17,500 islands. This is probably why so little is known about this important country, which is increasingly becoming the focus of global political attention in the race for resources and spheres of influence. It is simply so difficult to grasp. But it is precisely this unity in diversity that is the central element that defines the country. I wanted to capture that in my photographs.

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Bali is still one of the most popular long-haul destinations, is it still worth a trip or is it overrun with tourists?

Like almost everywhere else in the world, mass tourism is only concentrated in certain areas. In Bali, it is surprisingly easy to escape the hustle and bustle and immerse yourself in the traditional village life of the Balinese. Unlike in other remote parts of Indonesia, however, no one there will be surprised to see a foreign traveler. In many ways, Bali combines the comforts of home with the natural and cultural beauty of the country. Bali is known for its tropical landscape, handicrafts and Hindu spirituality, and not without good reason. 


The book contains great underwater photos, what is the fascination of diving for you?

For me, diving has always been a gateway to an unknown world. Why fly to the moon when you can glide through the sea in an almost meditative state of weightlessness? People still know so little about the blue depths that I feel like an explorer every time I dive. There are so many encounters of a different kind waiting below sea level that I can never get enough of them.

What was the most memorable experience on your travels through Indonesia?

With such a large project, there are so many events, encounters and adventures that it's impossible to boil it down to a single experience. I met indigenous people in the jungle, traditional whalers on remote islands and diamond miners in their mines. On other days, I came face to face with a full-grown orangutan in the forest. Twice I had to cut my trip short prematurely. Once I almost lost my leg and then my life after a tropical infection and a spider bite. Another time I slipped into a volcanic fissure or was attacked by a cobra. I got caught in a landslide on a night bus, felt the earth shake beneath me and a pandemic broke out during my trip. In any case, it was never boring.

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You gained a lot of insight into people's lives - what is everyday life like in Sumatra, for example?

A person's everyday life is very much determined by the environment in which they live. In a city of millions like Medan, you will do your office job, order food via an app and then meet up with friends in a hip café in the city. In the countryside, for example, you might tend to your water buffalo and till the rice fields before eating dinner with your family in a wooden hut on the ground. And if you want to survive in the jungle, you have to know the edible plants and go hunting. The realities of life in this country are often far apart and are as complex as its inhabitants.

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