"We live in the age of the selfie," Jerry Saltz wrote in 2014.
A few short years ago, people were still primarily interested in recording what was in front of them.
Then, all of a sudden, hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people were turning their cameras around and taking pictures of themselves. "It's possible that the selfie is the most prevalent popular genre ever," Saltz ventured.
Most of us would therefore be surprised to learn that Jean Pigozzi- neither an American nor a millennial-has been taking selfies for more than forty years. "There were people doing self portraits for a hundred years," Pigozzi says. "They would put the camera on a tripod and they would have a long tube with a little pump and you'd press it and take your picture.
But people doing it the way I did it? I never saw anybody doing that." If the selfie is still in its "neolithic phase," as Saltz suggested, Pigozzi's photographs represent a previously unknown paleolithic one. ME + CO brings this unique body of work together for the first time.
There are dozens of famous faces like Mick Jagger, Faye Dunaway, Mel Brooks, Andy Warhol, and Lady Gaga, pressed against Pigozzi's, as well as the belly of a Turkish belly dancer, a busload of Japanese tourists, and a stuffed dog. Pigozzi's collected selfies are fascinating and fun, both for their strangely contemporary quality and for their old school innocence.