Pierre de Vallombreuse photographs societies where the women are in charge

French photographer Pierre de Vallombreuse's images of matriarchal and egalitarian cultures presents another side of gender equality discourse.

Over 30 years, contemporary photographer Pierre de Vallombreuse has travelled across Southeast Asia visiting and capturing societies that hardly resemble the largely patriarchal Western cultures that he was accustomed to. With a number of photographic books under his name, including Souveraines, he’s dedicated his portfolio to capturing the stories of women who inhabit what he describes as “a central place in the social and spiritual foundations, preserving or advocating equality between the sexes, with total mutual respect”.

While the rest of the world would often refer to them as gender bending and against the grain, matrilocality is a norm for communities like the indigenous Khasi people of northeast India. Other egalitarian and matriarchal groups his lens has zoomed in on include the Badjao tribe in Malaysia and the Palawan society in the Philippines.

Galerie Argentic in Paris will exhibit De Vallombreuse’s work from Souveraines, a book published by the Flammarion Publishing Group, between 13 October and 21 November 2015.