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King of the selfie with celebrities records life of fame and glamour

By Deng Zhangyu ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-03-21 09:45:04

King of the selfie with celebrities records life of fame and glamour

Zhang Ziyi and Penelope Cruz. Jean Pigozzi / China Daily

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When a picture of a group of celebrities taking a selfie at the Oscars went viral on social media, Jean Pigozzi was less than impressed-he has taken pictures of himself with celebrities across the globe since 1972.

The show, Jean Pigozzi-My World, presents more than 100 photos-many are selfies that the Italian photographer took over the past four decades with big names, mainly from the entertainment industry.

Kate Moss, Elton John, Michael Douglas, Paris Hilton, Mick Jagger, Tom Hanks, Woody Allen and Andy Warhol and even luminaries like Steve Jobs and Henry Kissinger are among his famous subjects, caught at their most off-guard moments.

"I think I invented taking selfies, early in 1972. If one selfie is worth one dollar, I would be the richest man in the world," Pigozzi says, jokingly, at his show at Beijing's Ullens Center for Contemporary Art.

As he is speaking, he lifts his camera and quickly snaps a photo of himself-too quickly to be noticed.

In fact, Pigozzi doesn't see himself as a photographer. He would rather use the term "life recorder". His friend and the curator of the show Alexi Tan says it is the perfect description.

"The people he shoots and takes selfies with are close to him or his friends. It's different from being shot by a photographer. His friends trust him and reveal themselves naturally before his lens," Tan says.

Tan is a film director. He met Pigozzi at the Venice Film Festival in 2012.

"I thought he was very interesting and must be very passionate about life. And he is," Tan adds.

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