My Story

Kim Tonelli is one of Australia’s unique photographers. Her ability to bring out her subjects’ self-expression and encapsulate the essence of who they are has captured the attention of a diverse world-wide audience. Kim has the ability to interpret her subject matter in a visionary and creative way. The results are graphic compositions, saturated colours and gritty, organic textures which give her images depth and animation in a dramatic and compelling way.

After completing a B.A in Photography at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Obsessed with wearing strictly black and white clothing ala 60’s British Mod style, Kim was nicknamed ‘Two Tone Tonelli’. Her obsession with anything British Pop Culture was legendary.

In 1989 Kim followed her passion for sixties rock and roll all the way to London where she felt right at home. She established an esteemed and dynamic career that kept her away from home for almost a decade. Kim’s work has taken her to over 50 cities world-wide. Highlights include: photographing legends in the music business, numerous cover shots for Rolling Stone magazine. Her work has been featured in every major music publication in England and Australia as well as winning first place at the National Youth Media Awards.


Kim says:

In 1975, my big brother took our treasured family group shot at the Royal Melbourne Botanical Gardens. Our photos came back from the chemist with our heads cut off!  When the next opportunity presented itself, l asked my father if I can take the family shots instead. He said NO!

I was 8 years old and the younger sister to my older brother in a traditional suburban Melbourne Italian family. Well, maybe that was the moment when I decided that I was going to become a photographer (I’ll show them!). My father had always taken thousands of Super 8 family movies during the 60’s & 70’s and so I guess it was in the blood.

At the age of 18, a friend and I skipped an R.M.I.T Chemistry class to go around the corner and hangout at the Regency Hotel. It was the night after the 1985 Melbourne Queen Concert and we thought we might spot the band. It was exciting and amusing to see Freddie Mercury arriving in a separate limousine to the rest of the band. It was at this moment when I made the decision to follow my dream and go to London.

I feel so blessed and privileged to have met and worked with some of the worlds greatest music icons, in fact, every band that had a pIace on my teenage bedroom wall.

The height of the Brit Pop era (1992 -1998) was my favourite period as I got to work with legends such as Blondie, David Bowie, Paul Weller Oasis , Blur  and The Who.

This was a dream I never thought was possible for that young Italian girl from the Eastern Suburbs. I now believe if you are passionate enough, anything is possible!