In François Halard’s immersive new book, his perfectly imperfect visual sensibility sheds new light on some of the most celebrated artists of his time. Halard—art-world luminary, arbiter of taste, and among the most renowned and prolific interiors photographers—is not even remotely deterred by a little bit of chipped paint. Or crumbling plaster, or cracked tiles, or even missing doorknobs. “It’s a way to show something very special,” he says of photographing the ephemera that comprise a space’s character. Take Louise Bourgeois’s New York home, which Halard captured in 2014 and is one of the nearly two dozen subjects to appear in François Halard: A Visual Diary. “I’m not just photographing the studios and homes of artists,” he says. “I want to appropriate these interiors and interpret them through the medium of photography.”

A sad, sagging mattress, decaying folding chairs, a derelict kitchen that would likely raise an eyebrow from a Housing Authority inspector … all manage to convey a particular charm when immortalized by Halard’s analog and Polaroid cameras, especially when the images are edited into a story by Beda Achermann, the former creative director of the German edition of Men’s Vogue and Halard’s longtime collaborator.