Matthieu Ricard was born in Aix-les-Bains, Savoie, France, he is the son of the late Jean-François Revel (born Jean-François Ricard), a renowned French philosopher.
His mother is the lyrical abstractionist painter Yahne Le Toumelin. Matthieu Ricard grew up among the personalities and ideas of French intellectual circles.
He worked for a Ph.D. degree in molecular genetics at the Pasteur Institute under French Nobel Laureate François Jacob.
After completing his doctoral thesis in 1972, Ricard decided to forsake his scientific career and concentrate on the practice of Tibetan Buddhism.
Ricard’s photographs of the spiritual masters, the landscape, and the people of the Himalayas have appeared in numerous books and magazines. Henri Cartier-Bresson has said of his work, “Matthieu’s spiritual life and his camera are one, from which spring these images, fleeting and eternal.”
Since 1967, he lived in Himalayas to study Tibetan Buddhism and is the French interpreter of the Dalai Lama since 1989.
He lives in Nepal at Shechen Monastery and devotes much of his time to the preservation of Tibetan cultural heritage.
Matthieu Ricard has photographed the spiritual masters, landscapes, and people of the Himalayans over the last forty-five years and published several albums of photography including, in English, Journey to Enlightenment (Aperture, 1996 – The Spirit of Tibet in paperback, Aperture 2001), Buddhist Himalayas (Harry Abrams, 2002), Dancers Monks of Tibet (Shambhala, 2003), Tibet, an Inner Journey (Thames and Hudson, 2006), Motionless Journey (Thames and Hudson, 2007) and Bhutan, a Land of Peace (Thames and Hudson, 2008).
His work have been exhibited in New York (Rubin Museum of Art, Aperture Gallery, Asia Society), Paris, Perpignan (Visa pour l’image), Winthertur, Stockholm and Hong Kong and reviewed in the New York Times and other magazines throughout the world.