Phil Nicholl's has had a 30 year career as a freelance photographer. Much of this time has been spent in the music industry, including a 12 year stint with music publication, Melody Maker.
Even after more than three decades of photographing music legends, the magic still hasn’t worn off.
Phil vividly remembers taking the photos featured in our April Artist of the Month. The three ultra-high resolution photographs, offered in A1, A2 and A3 sizes at more than 20% off the original price, individually depict Bristol bands Portishead and Massive Attack as well as a 20-year-old Amy Winehouse back stage at the Louisiana.
“I can picture her arriving,” Phil says almost breathlessly of Amy. “I spent the whole day with her. She had an incredibly thick London accent, this flirty little thing who filled that little dressing room backstage at the venue. I just liked her look. It was so simple. She seemed so comfortable in herself.”
He didn’t get to spend as much time with Massive Attack and Portishead when he photographed the Bristol music legends, but still was “in awe” while photographing them.
“I think a lot of musicians tend to be quite brief. I don’t like to linger – I think it shows in people’s eyes if you’re hanging around too long.
“But I spent a lot of time afterwards with Rob from Massive Attack. We spent a wonderful New Year’s Eve together in Bristol. We were locked into the Ashley Court Hotel drinking Guinness and Tia Maria.”
Prices for the exclusive photographs will range from £190 to £520. Other photos by Phil will also be available at the Bristol24/7 online shop for 20% off. Ten percent of the profits will go to Phil’s chosen charity, the Bristol Children’s Hospital Charity’s Wallace and Gromit Foundation.
Though he’s spent time living and working in London and Cornwall, Phil believes the Bristol music scene has a unique vibe that can’t be matched elsewhere.
“For me, Bristol just feels like the centre of the country again. It’s so exciting. It’s definitely where I need to be,” he says. “Shooting Massive Attack, I was such a fan. They’re some of the most relaxed people I’ve worked with. Same with Portishead. That’s the thing about the Bristol sound. Everyone seems so good to be with. The whole music scene feels so real. Human.”
The draw to Bristol is so strong that Phil is moving back from his large renovated house in Cornwall - he recently launched his new Bristol-based company, Paper Gods, in partnership with rock journalist Ian Gittins. The company will sell Phil’s photographs as well as set up a creative space for local and up-and-coming musical artists.