Nicolas Tikhomiroff (March 22, 1927 – April 17, 2016) was a French photographer, of Russian origin. He started working for Magnum Photos
in 1959. Tikhomiroff was born in Paris to Russian parents. He received his education at a boarding school away from home with children of a similar background. He was trilingual with Russian as his primary language with French, and English as a secondary language. When he reached the age of seventeen, just following the Liberation of Paris, he joined the French army. After finishing his duties he found a job working for a fashion photographer processing prints.
In 1956, Tikhomiroff was inspired by French journalist Michel Chevalier and struck out on his own as a freelance photographer. For the next few years, he spent his time traveling with Chevalier to the Middle East, Africa, among other places. In 1959 Tikhomiroff joined Magnum
. Most of his work was on wars such as in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.
Famous for his work on World Cinema, he also had a large portfolio of war photography. He was married to Shirley Lou Ritchie, by whom he had a daughter, Tamara Joan Tikhomiroff. He retired in 1987 and lived in Provence, France.
Nicolas Tikhomiroff was born in Paris to Russian ‘émigrés’ parents. He spent his school years in a special boarding school for children of a similar background: those with Russian as a first language, followed by French. He joined the army at the age of 17 following the Liberation of Paris, then spent several months in Germany, followed by three years in Indochina.
After finishing his military service, Tikhomiroff found work in the darkroom of a fashion photographer. Using a Rolleiflex
, he began to take photographs for many magazines, including Marie France. In 1956, a decisive encounter with French journalist Michel Chevalier led him to accompany Chevalier as a freelance photographer. This relationship resulted in long trips to the Soviet Union, Africa, and the Middle East.
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 Orson Welles, Fellini, Visconti, and many others. He developed a close friendship with Welles while photographing the filming of The Trial and Falstaff
Nicolas Tikhomiroff also undertook advertising and fashion assignments. Although he was never a full member of Magnum Photos, his earlier work is still distributed by the agency. Tikhomiroff retired from professional activities in 1987. He lived in Provence in the south of France, where he spent much of his time working on personal projects and essays.
Source: Magnum Photos
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.”
Source: British Journal of Photography