Tikhomiroff was best known for his war photography and images of celebrities such as Orson Welles and Brigitte Bardot. He started his career processing prints in the darkroom of a fashion photographer, and then went on to take photographs for magazines such as Marie France. He favoured using a Rolleiflex camera.
In 1956, inspired by French journalist Michel Chevalier, he started working as a freelance photographer accompanying Chevalier on trips to the Soviet Union, Africa, and the Middle East.
He joined Magnum in 1959, producing numerous photo stories on war photography in Algeria, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
He also contributed to an important Magnum project on World Cinema, for which he met stars such as Orson Welles, Fellini, and Visconti. He developed a close friendship with Orson Welles, in particular, whilst photographing the filming of The Trial and Falstaff-Chimes At Midnight, both directed by Welles.
Tikhomiroff retired from professional photography in 1987, but continued working on personal projects in France.
In a statement by Magnum, Magnum member, Bruno Barbey shared his memories of Tikhomiroff:
“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’. 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.”