Pierre de Vallombreuse win Prix Viviane Esders 2023

Viviane Esders is pleased to announce that Pierre de Vallombreuse will receive an endowment of €60,000, of which €10,000 will go towards the publication of a book. At the age of 60, the photographer still has a few dozen years to carry out the projects that are close to his heart.

poza alb negru fotograf profesionist Pierre de Vallombreuse win Prix Viviane Esders 2023
Pierre de Vallombreuse win Prix Viviane Esders 2023

For this second edition of the Viviane Esders Prize, over 200 entries were received, including 26% from women photographers and 14 European countries represented.

The jury would like to underline the quality of the dossiers and approaches of the four other finalists, whom we encourage to continue their careers: Nancy Wilson-Pajic, Markéta Luskačová, Jean-Claude Delalande and Payram.

poza alb negru privitor sculptura cetatean basc
Basque people. South of the Basque Country. Bilbao, 2011. The Guggenheim Museum.
Scuplture by Louise Bourgeois.

Chaired by Viviane Esders and including Anny Duperey (actress and writer), Maria Finders (curator of the Luma days for Arles), Antoinede Galbert (contemporaryart collector and patron), Atiq Rahimi (film director and novelist), Françoise Reynaud (photography historian and curator at the Musée Carnavalet until 2016) and Isabella Seniuta (independent curator), the jury chose Pierre de Vallombreuse from among the five finalists’ careers and approaches.

poza alb negru Palawan Philippines Pierre de Vallombreuse win Prix Viviane Esders 2023
The Valley. Palawan, Philippines, 2016. A family is moving
back down to the valley. The chickens are part of the move. – Pierre de Vallombreuse

For Pierre de Vallombreuse, photography offers the opportunity to experience powerful adventures and to tell stories, mainly about indigenous peoples.
It is also a way of bearing witness to our world and its diversity. Very early on, Pierre de Vallombreuse recognised the need to defend the diversity of cultures, a fight he feels essential in the face of the accelerating depletion of biodiversity and the diversity of cultures, the two being totally linked.


The Valley Palawan Philippines 1994 black white photo Pierre de Vallombreuse
The Valley, PalawaN, Philippines, 1994. A Palawan returns
to his family’s cave with a sack full of bananas and pineapples
picked from the valley’s vegetable gardens, where many
varieties of fruit and vegetables are grown. – Pierre de Vallombreuse

The photographer sees photography as a tool of resistance in the world’s emergency situation. It was a trip to Borneo in 1985 that changed the course of his life when he met the last nomads of the jungle: the Punans.

From sedentary artist he became a nomadic witness. Photography would become his means of expression. After Borneo, in the jungles of the island of Palawan in the Philippines, he discovered a valley that would shape a large part of his life. For 34 years, he has been recounting the lives of its inhabitants, who were once isolated. Since then, he has tirelessly documented the lives of indigenous peoples across 5 continents. He has built up a unique photographic collection of over 140,000 photos of 42 peoples, paying tribute to the world’s precious diversity.

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Pierre de Vallombreuse’s entire approach is based on an attempt to provide the beginnings of an answer to everyone’s questions about civilisations. This is what has motivated the photographer’s approach for almost forty years: «When I arrive in a community, I abandon as much as I can of my ‘social self’ to become nothing more than a kind of newborn baby trying to understand, without prejudice, how people live in a particular part of the world. Understanding means being less afraid».

From 200 entries, the jury chose five finalists:
Jean-Claude Delalande
French, born in Paris in 1962.

Pierre de Vallombreuse
French, born in Bayonne in 1962.

Markéta Luskačová
Czech, born in Prague in 1944.

French, born in Tehran in 1959.

Nancy Wilson-Pajic
British, born in Peru in 1941.

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