Jean Pigozzi : My World exhbition in Beijing - Editor:GaoYinan, Yao Chun for People's Daily Online

Zhang Ziyi and Penelope Cruz. Photo provided to China Daily

With photos of celebrities taking selfies together bombarding social networks such as Twitter and Facebook recently, Jean Pigozzi may merely sniff at the craze as he has been taking selfies of himself with celebrities around the world since 1972.

Now showing at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, Jean Pigozzi — My World, features more than 100 photos — many of which are selfies that the French photographer took in the past four decades with celebrities, mainly from Hollywood. 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.

"I think I invented taking selfies, early in 1972. If one selfy is worth $1, I would be the richest man in the world," joked Pigozzi at the show. While saying this, he lifted his camera, lens facing him, and took another.

Pigozzi said he doesn't see himself as a photographer. He prefers the term "life recorder", and his friend and the show's curator Alexi Tan could not agree more.

"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 behind his lens," Tan said.

Tan, a film director, met Pigozzi at the Venice Film Festival in 2012. At the time, Tan noticed a person who kept taking selfies with others, the same as Pigozzi did at the show’s opening night on March 13.

"I though he was very interesting and must be very passionate about life. So he is," Tan said.

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