JEAN PIGOZZI: LIFE IN PICTURES

Jean Pigozzi is an art world Renaissance man if there ever was one: He is reported to have one of the largest and most important collections of contemporary art and he lends works to museums around the world. But his greatest passion is capturing life’s surreal moments on his handheld camera, which he is never left without—he even claims to have invented the group selfie.

“Yes, of course,” he tells me from his apartment in the Hotel des Artistes on New York’s Upper West Side. “Yes, the autoportrait existed for years, because painters would do that back in the beginning of time. But the group selfie was a bit more of a novel idea.”

Pigozzi, who was born in Paris and attended Harvard University, received his first camera at the age of 10 and quickly began taking pictures. He was dyslexic, so expressing himself in photographs became his medium, and he had a particular fondness for selfies. “The first I found was of me and Faye Dunaway when she came to Harvard for her Hasty Pudding award in the early 1970s. So, I think I can claim to be the first group selfie. Of course, the iPhone has made it much, much easier, but the trick with me is that I have long arms.”

“Jean Pigozzi's pictures are a good way to start collecting art and photography, and that they represent an intimate and insider's point of view to a rarefied world.”

Today, Pigozzi splits his time between homes in the South of France, Geneva, New York and an eco-preserve in the jungle of Panama—where he also keeps a yacht-converted-from-a-tanker (as one does) called the Amazon Express. His photographs are not only a snapshot of his life in these different locales, but also within the worlds of contemporary art, Hollywood and technology. Keith Richards backstage at The Meadowlands; a sailor-hat-clad Bianca Jagger snapped reading the paper in Antibes; Kate Moss and Calvin Klein reunited in New York City: each is among the era-defining photographs included in Pigozzi’s Gagosian trunkshow currently available to purchase on Moda.