Pierre de Vallombreuse was born in Bayonne in 1962. In twenty-five years of travel to all continents, he made a photographic collection of 41 indigenous peoples, with more than 130,000 photographs, paying tribute to their diversity.
In contact with Joseph Kessel, a French author and traveler, de Vallombreuse felt a very early desire to be a witness of his time. In 1984, he entered the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris with the idea of becoming a cartoonist. A trip to Borneo the next year, though, changed the course of his life. He shared his daily life with the Punans, the last nomads of the jungle. Normally a sedentary artist, de Vallombreuse decided to become a nomadic witness, and photography became his mode of expression. While still a student at the Arts Décoratifs in Paris, he took multiple trips to the Philippine jungle to stay with the Palawan people. In total, he lived with them for over two years. The first part of his work on this tribe was presented at the photographic festival Les Rencontres internationales de la photographie in Arles.
De Vallombreuse was Secretary General of the Association of Anthropology and Photography (association Anthropologie et Photographie, Paris Diderot University). Since then, he has regularly collaborated with leading international magazines: GEO (France, Russia, Germany, Spain, South Korea, Japan), Sciences et Avenir, Le Monde 2, Le Figaro Magazine, Newsweek, El Mundo, El País, and La Stampa.
About The Origins of Man (Hommes Racines)
Encompassing five years of work, this project represents the commitment of a photographer with eleven indigenous peoples spread across the globe. Its main purpose is to show the intimate relationship between man and his environment. De Vallombreuse presented his work as a testament to the diversity of lifestyles, practices, and traditional knowledge that are embedded in very different environments. These cultures are repositories of knowledge essential to the preservation of biodiversity. De Vallombreuse aimed to promote a reflection on humanity sustainable whose corollary is the protection of nature.
Whenever linked to a specific people, the project emphasizes the multiplicity of responses to living conditions imposed by nature and history. It is in this context that de Vallombreuse addresses this root concept. By meeting people entrenched in their territory and those who have been subjected to the test of uprooting, de Vallombreuse analyzed changes in life affecting our modernity. He worked to show how indigenous peoples are often the first victims of environmental disasters: food shortages, deforestation, global warming, pollution, and water war, crucial questions that, far from being local concerns, affect our mutual humanity.
Since 2007, this project has resulted in 12 exhibitions and numerous publications.
In the West, feminists fight for equality with men. But elsewhere?
In some traditional societies, women have a predominant social and spiritual part to play. There is equality, mutual respect and freedom for both genders. Amongst these people, women are recognized for their uniqueness and their skills.
Pierre de Vallombreuse traveled to four South East Asian cultures where women play a crucial part in the family and in governance itself.
In the matrilineal and matrilocal tribe of Khasi in the North-East part of India, children are given at birth the name of their mother and the youngest daughter inherits all the land and family properties.
In the nonhierarchical tribe Palawan in the Philippines, men and women live in perfect equality, while emphasizing values such as goodwill, generosity and mutual assistance.
In the southwestern part of China, status of women is unique in Moso, a population that practices all forms of matriarchy as children's education is entrusted with their maternal uncles.
Finally in Malaysia, the Badjao abolish all forms of hierarchy and advocate for an egalitarian and libertarian civilization that is prominently in favor of women.