Ian was born and brought up in Glasgow, Scotland:
Known for his natural, no-gimmicks style, Ian’s images are authentic, honest and strikingly expressive.
Starting out as a nightclub DJ and musician, he took the plunge into the world of photography in 1985 when he was twenty five after buying a second hand camera from a pub hawker. He got bitten by the bug and read every photography book he could find and after taking a college course spent his days off experimenting with what he’d learned.
His first break into professional photography came after being offered studio space in a new Glasgow artists’ co-operative, WASPS and his career took off, taking pictures of models and people he met in his night club. Two years later the BBC made a TV programme about Phillips-McLaren called ‘A style of one’s own’. He then became Artist in Residence at the Glasgow School of Art and in 1990 held an exhibition showcasing his art and life in Glasgow in its ‘City of Culture’ programme.
Soon afterwards Phillips-McLaren produced his first album cover for top 90’s pop band Wet Wet Wet, followed by a series of portraits for American Vogue. He moved to London in 1991 and quickly become renowned for shooting straight from the heart pictures of ordinary people, artists, and celebrity ‘A’ listers including the Spice girls, Justin Timberlake, Billy Connolly, Orlando Bloom and many other actors, comedians and pop stars.
His client portfolio included Chanel Four, BBC, Bank of New York, Vidal Sassoon and magazines GQ, Smash hits, Top of the Pops and Q. He has been featured in several media interviews including Kirsty Young’s programme for BBC 5 live.