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This Guy Spent Over 25 Years Taking Photos Of Himself With Celebrities As An Art Project

Lifestyles of the Richard and Famous.

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Meet Richard Simpkin, who has spent over 25 years collecting photos of himself with some of the biggest celebrities around.

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He has met and posed with everyone from Audrey Hepburn and Michael Jackson to Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama.

And in 2013, 25 years after he got his first celebrity photo, he decided to turn it into an art project. In his exhibition Richard and Famous you can see the transformation of Richard as well as the celebrities he has met. It all started in the '80s when Richard would wait outside changing rooms of sports arenas and get the players' autographs. He then decided to ask for photographs instead of signatures after being shown a picture of a friend's parents with John Lennon and Yoko Ono while they were on vacation in New York.

Simpkin said: "I wasn't sure how long I was going to do it for but I thought how interesting it would be one day to show this unique collection of photos. In 2013 it had been 25 consecutive years of documenting my life in photos with celebrities and at the end of 2013 I decided to end the project – hence I don't meet celebs any more."

When asked what was his best encounter with a celebrity, Richard told BuzzFeed: "I was in LA in 2007 and walked around the back of a restaurant. When I got around the back, which was in a dark lane, I noticed Jack Nicholson having a cigar by himself. We got chatting about various things but he wouldn't give me a photo as he didn't have his trademark sunglasses on, but he told me that he liked me and when he was leaving after dinner he would give me a photo with him."

After waiting two hours in front of the restaurant with paparazzi and a group of other fans, Richard was the only one who got a photo with Jack Nicholson that night.

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In fact, he spent a lot of time outside of restaurants getting some of his best photos. Richard told BuzzFeed: "[In] Los Angeles there are certain restaurants where various celebs go on a nightly basis to have dinner. If you simply just wait outside for them to leave then you can put yourself in a position where you can ask them for a photo.

"Also there are functions every day in places such as LA or New York where celebs attend. These functions could be to honour a particular celebrity or to raise money for a charity. If you find out about these functions you can wait for them to finish then ask for a pic. Also there are certain hotels where celebs often visit or stay; I've spent many hours waiting in five-star hotel lobbies waiting to meet a celeb."

He continued: "In '89, when I was 16, I met Michael Hutchence, who was the singer of INXS. I spent five months hanging out with INXS at their recording studios in 1990 (January-May) and formed a friendship with the band, but was the closest with Michael."

Richard has recently released a book of unseen photographs of Hutchence, taken over their eight-year-long friendship.

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Richard said some of the nicest celebrities he has met have been Michael Hutchence, Bono, Katy Perry, Michael Jackson, Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorsese, and Gregory Peck.

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But he insisted that he's not even that bothered about famous people: "I guess the most interesting part of this whole thing is that I have no interest in celebrities; as a kid I did, but most kids do.

"I spent so many years working on building my celebrity photo collection as I wanted to have an exhibition that no one had ever seen or done before and I think that I have achieved this. I documented my life in photos for 25 consecutive years with some of the most famous and iconic people in the 20th and 21st century."

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