Phil Nicholls was born in Cornwall and studied fine art at Falmouth and Bath. A passion for music fuelled by nights listening to John Peel would lead him to change direction, switching courses and specialising in photography.
In 1985, not long after leaving Bath Academy of Art, he received his first break in the music business, scooping the Zigzag/Pentax Photographer of the Year Rock Portrait Award. This break took him to London and a career as a freelance music photographer.
He joined weekly music magazine 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, Echo and the Bunnymen, Boy George, The Prodigy, Bjork and Courtney Love have appeared in Vogue, Uncut, Blitz, Evening Standard, NME and countless other titles, while his work has been exhibited in London, Brussels and Tokyo.
2003 saw the publication of Nicholls' photography book Classic Cafes (Black Dog Publishing), a study of London's 'greasy spoon' cafe culture. Word-of-mouth and great reviews saw the title quickly sell out its initial print run, and copies now change hands on Amazon for in excess of £100. Spring 2007 will also see the publication of Traditional Shops and Restaurants of London (New York Review of Books).
Phil has recently worked with William Orbit, Nick Warren and Timo Maas and is developing a searchable database of rock images covering his 25-year career. He is also working on an exhibition centring on his passion for London, inspired partly by authors like Peter Ackroyd and Iain Sinclair, but mostly by the great city itself.