Surabaya Beat

Surabaya Beat

A Fairy Tale of Ships, Trade and Travels in Indonesia

Travels around the Indonesian archipelago, popular destination of Western globetrotters and Guest of Honor at Frankfurt Books Fair 2015.



Title Information

Beat Presser

1st edition

, 2015


224 pages, 138 duotone illustrations

24.5 x 30.5 cm

ISBN 978-3-85881-763-1


From 2012 to 2014, Swiss photographer and seaman Beat Presser traveled the vast Indonesia archipelago by boat, amassing an extensive collection of photographs that capture the complex­ity and beauty of life on the country’s tens of thousands of islands and the surrounding ocean waters.

Surabaya Beat draws on Presser’s photographs to reconstruct his travels. Through high winds and heavy storms, he sails as part of the crew aboard traditional Indonesian pinisi, carrying fresh fruit bound for the port cities and the world-famous floating markets while learn­ing from the local seamen about the country through its transport and trade. Along the way, he encounters fellow travelers, from tourists to oil exporters, and even officers of the Coast Guard who lend him a mo­torcycle and later invite him to join them for a dive. Presser’s masterly black-and-white photography lends a timeless tone to these and many other encounters in this popular travel destination that remains never­theless a source of mystery to most outside Southeast Asia. Alongside more than one hundred photographs and his own writings, Presser has assembled short stories and poems by some of Indonesia’s most promising writers.

Photographic opportunities abound in Indonesia, and Surabaya Beat represents Presser’s personal photographic vision that will en­trance fans of photography and anyone looking to learn more about this incredible, vibrant country.

Authors & Editors

Beat Presser

, born 1952, is a freelance photographer based in his native Basel. Following his training as a photographer he worked as a seaman and lived in New York and Bangkok for some years. In the 1980s he worked with German film director Werner Herzog and actor Klaus Kinski.