Documentary, News

Remembering Nicolas Tikhomiroff

Images © Nicolas Tikhomiroff/Magnum Photos

Nicolas Tikhomiroff, the Magnum photographer famous for his pictures of Edith Piaf and Brigitte Bardot, passed away on 17th April 2016.

Born in Paris, France, to Russian parents, and educated at boarding school. Tikhomiroff joined the French army just after the Liberation of Paris, when he was just 17.

Tikhomiroff started his career as a photographer after finding work in the darkroom of a fashion photographer.

Using a Rolleiflex, he began to take photographs for magazines like Marie France.

In 1956, he met Michel Chevalier leading him to accompany the French journalist  as a freelance photographer.

This relationship resulted in long trips to the Soviet Union, Africa, and the Middle East.

Portrait of Nicolas TIKHOMIROFF.

Portrait of Nicolas Tikhomiroff, courtesy Magnum Photos

Tikhomiroff joined Magnum in 1959 and completed numerous photo stories on subjects such as the Algerian War, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. He also contributed to an important Magnum project on World Cinema, meeting and photographing film directors like Orson Welles, Federico Fellini, Luchino Visconti.

He developed a close friendship with Welles while photographing the filming of The Trial and Falstaff.

Tikhomiroff retired from professional activities in 1987, but he continued working on his personal projects in France.

Magnum member Bruno Barbey says of Nicolas: “As well as a very important portraitist of the celebrities of the 60s (Brigitte Bardot, Jeanne Moreau or Edith Piaf, to name a few), Nicolas was also a concerned photographer, covering USSR in 1957 or De Gaulle’s historic visit to Algeria in 1960.

“In a certain way, Nicolas epitomized Magnum’s long standing tradition, producing both a significant personal work on film set photography and covering world news for the agency.

“To me, his name will always be linked to his iconic photographs of Orson Wells, notably in Spain on the set of Chimes at Midnight.”

See more of his work on his Magnum page here.