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Jean Marc Tingaud

Places of inspiration. Japan's Living National treasures

Jean Marc Tingaud photographs the workspaces and daily environments of people encountered "all over the world". His latest journey, to Japan, immortalizes the daily lives of the country's "Living treasures", revered guardians of a tradition of excellence.

Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès - Jean Marc Tingaud

Since 1986, Jean Marc Tingaud's series Intérieurs ("Interiors") has explored living and workspaces around the world. His latest photographs present the homes and workshops of Japan's National Living Treasures – exceptional artisans and artists, the heirs and teachers of a tradition of expertise, a patiently cultivated philosophy and a centuries-old way of life. Meeting these revered people "on their own territory", Tingaud has captured the essence of their fiercely-guarded, private daily lives.

"Tingaud's work is profoundly humanistic, contemporary, poetic and philosophical," explains the Hermès Foundation's director Catherine Tsékénis. "As such, it perfectly reflects our own artistic aims and choices."

Tingaud's images have a documentary quality, but they differ from traditional photojournalism focusing on interior decoration. Here, fragments of space, familiar objects, photographs and mementoes reveal something of their inhabitants' intimate lives: plain portraits devoid of artifice or ostentation.

Jean Marc Tingaud highlights often imperceptible touches of life: "I try to transcribe things that cannot be put into words," he explains. "To shed light on the beauty and poetry that accompanies our existence by exploring the unfathomable mystery of our destiny. From Paraguay to Morocco, and Japan, my work is dedicated to 'inhabited space' and what it tells us about humankind, in all its diversity, but most importantly about the universal things we have in common."

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Autumn 2010: a new journey to Japan, continuing Jean-Marc Tingaud's work on the interiors of the country's Living Treasures.