Phil Nicholls was born in Cornwall and studied at Falmouth School of Art and Bath Academy of Art. A passion for music and the related rock images of cult photographer Anton Corbijn lead him to abandon fine art and specialise in photography.
In 1985, not long after leaving Bath Academy he received his first break in the music business scooping the Zigzag/Pentax Photographer of the Year Rock Portrait Award. This took him to London beginning his career as a freelance music photographer.
He joined weekly music paper Melody Maker in 1985 and over the next 12 years became renowned for his gritty, intelligent portraits of rock celebrities, developing into a major figure in his field. His iconic images of artists like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Amy Winehouse, The Prodigy, Bjork and Courtney Love have appeared in Vogue, Uncut, The Guardian, Telegraph, NME and countless other titles, while his work has been exhibited in London, Brussels and Tokyo.
Post-Melody Maker Phil continued to work in the music industry. Work became less editorial, more record company based ie, The ‘Firestarter’ campaign for The Prodigy. A definite favourite.
2003 saw the publication of the book, Classic Cafes, a photographic study of London’s, formica-laden, architectural treasures with text by author Adrian Maddox. Word of mouth and great reviews saw the title quickly sell out its initial print run and copies now change hands on Amazon for extortionate prices.
In Spring 2007 Traditional Shops and Restaurants of London (New York Review of Books) was published, a guide to London’s century-old establishments. Phil photographed 65 different venues for the book. This title was followed in December 2008 by Savoir Faire London (New York Review of Books), a guide to some of the city’s most interesting eateries, illustrated by Phil’s evocative images and reviews by author Elaine Louie from the New York Times.
Phil continues working with bands and has a series of personal projects in progress. He also manages a collective of rock photographers and is eagerly awaiting the opportunity to resume exhibitions where photographers will get face-to-face with an audience for Q&A sessions.