Barbara Nicholls


I am an experienced Cinematographer having worked in the film and television industry for over 30 years. I have filmed for the BBC, ITV, C4, Aljazeera and many international broadcasters in over 50 countries including the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, the Caribbean, the Indian Sub Continent, Northern Iraq, the Philippines, the Americas, China, Tibet and Inner Mongolia - as well as the beautiful Western Isles of Scotland. Working in war zones and remote regions of the world to equally difficult but different home terrain in recording modern Britain, my work ranges across observational and historical/political documentaries, arts promos, feature films and short dramas as well as commercials and artist's authored films - in both film and digital. Subjects include mafia crime and the art market in The Fine Art of Crime (C4), a world series on the history of archaeology in Lost Worlds (C4) and two feature films concerned with representation in contemporary Britain. 

I've enjoyed long and rewarding working relationships with many directors and artists and have worked with a wide range of creative talent including Damien Hirst, Patience Agbabi, Sonya Boyce, Carol Morley, Zaha Hadid, Akram Khan, Malcolm McClaren, Isabella Rossellini, Sir Simon Rattle, Talvin Singh and the rapper JC001!  Most rewarding have been drama, dance shorts and poetry for Channel Four as well as independent films outside of the mainstream.

I've been invited to many panels on cinematography and production including those organised by the BFI, Arts Council, Bird's Eye and Expo Festivals and have run seminars for the Arts Council in Mumbai and South Africa.

As a practising cinematographer, determined to maintain celluloid at the forefront of any film education, I teach cinematography and lighting practice to the BA Filmmaking course at Kingston School of Art and Architecture. I currently run the ARRI Academy Certified Alexa Training Course.

Academic responsibilities

Senior Lecturer in Cinematography to BA Filmmaking


  • MA in Cultural Theory CCCS, Birmingham University.
  • National Film School - Cinematography/Lighting.
  • Post Graduate Diploma in Film Theory, CNAA, University of Westminster.
  • Higher Diploma in Film and Photography, Harrow College (now University of Westminster) and Kodak prize.
  • Post Graduate Certificate in Education for Further and Higher Education Teaching, Leicester University School of Education.
  • BA Hons English and American Literature and Politics, Leicester University.

Teaching and learning

Undergraduate courses taught


At the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies at Birmingham University, supervised by Professor Stuart Hall, I applied Laclau's work on populism to photographic documentary practice in the construction of the "popular democratic" in the US between 1890 and 1945" for the MA in Cultural Theory - involving study in the US Farm Administration archives in Washington and work of the Photo League etc. in New York.

Selected Nominations and Awards 

Michael Powell Award Nomination, Edinburgh Festival for "My Accomplice" (Feature Film - as Director of Photography).

British Craft Awards for Camera - C4 Nomination "The Fine Art of Crime" (as Lighting Camera).

LA Film Festival - Best Short Film Jury Prize "Legacy" (as Director of Photography). 

San Diego Film Festival - Best Short Film "Legacy" (as Director of Photography). 

Emma Awards Finalist - Best TV Documentary  "India Calling" for C4 (as Director of Photography). 

Cine-Poetry Festival, San Francisco - Audience First Prize ­­- "Lit Pop" Series for C4 (as Director of Photography) 

Best of ICA Biennial,  Canal+ Best Short Film at Cherbourg International Film Festival, Prized Pieces Festival, Berkeley, Jury Nomination Los Angeles Film Festival, Audience Drama Award - Bologna Film Festival for the C4 /Arts Council Production for the film "Body of a Poet" (as Producer and Co-Director of Photography).