Indonesia’s Hidden Heritage

Nov 30, 2015

hiddenheritage340by David Metcalf & Stephanie Brookes


Across the world’s greatest archipelago lie lands of outstanding beauty, seas of such clarity that can hardly be believed, raging rivers that weave tortuous routes through deep green forests, vast mountains that seem to fill the horizon. It is a place of unique beauty, and one which deserves to be captured by great photography and brought to life by creative description.

But more than that, nestled in valleys, perched on hilltops, straddling streams and paddling in lakes, are people of such cultural diversity that they too need to be gently and carefully recorded on camera and depicted faithfully in words.

There are still voyages of discovery to be done, still hidden heritages to be found, and the remarkable team of David Metcalf and Stephanie Brookes set out to discover them, travelling the roads much less travelled.

it has been my pleasure to have their journeys published in NOW! Jakarta magazine every month, and now even more of a pleasure to collect them into this small but beautiful book, full of the lives and cultures they discovered.

Congratulations to both the authors for their outstanding work, to David for his brilliant photographs, and to the readers, o hope every page brings you pleasure, and encourages the world to appreciate the extraordinary culture of Indonesia, and preserve it for all time.

Alister Speirs


David Metcalf has had a fascination with indigenous cultures ever since he started travelling through the American West visiting Hopi, Navajo and Sioux Indian reservations over 30 years ago.

His love of Indonesia and the many tribal groups spread throughout the archipelago has motivated him to capture in photographs and words the stories and history behind the many faces presented in this book.

David’s interest in photography began when he was 17 years old on his first overseas trip and the desire to capture what he feels and sees through the viewfinder is a challenge that continues to inspire him.

An avid photographer and writer, David plans to devote the rest of his life to documenting and recording these fascinating indigenous groups so others can share in the wisdom and knowledge, myths and legends.

He hopes that this book may inspire readers to embark on their own journeys of discovery to the many places of mystery and magic in this extraordinary country.

David offers photography tours in Bali and Indonesia and information can be found on his website.

-David Metcalf


Stephanie Brookes is a freelance writer who lives in Bali. She left New Zealand at 18 and has been wandering the globe ever since, always fascinated with the variety of indigenous cultures that she experiences along the way.

A frequently published travel writer and blogger for numerous international publications, Stephanie has travelled extensively throughout Indonesia over the past thirteen years and she thinks nothing of hiking to the top of a steaming active volcano or climbing into the back of a jeep to cross a sand sea to catch a sunrise in East Java.

From boarding a traditional Indonesian houseboat to meet the orangutans in the wild rivers of Kalimantan, to swimming with stingless jellyfish in a  perched lake high above the sea on Derawan Island, nothing stops this travel writer from finding a story, connecting with the locals and getting an understanding of the hidden heritage that can be found throughout the island of Indonesia.

-Stephanie Brookes

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