Miller grew up on the Westside, attending Santa Monica public schools. His teen years were impeccably timed, growing up in the early days of punk and hip hop. He went on to graduate from UCLA in the mid-1980s and decamped for Europe, ending up in Paris, where he briefly made ends meet by painting houses. While in Europe, super model Linda Evangelista gave him his first camera, a Nikon F2 passed on from Peter Lindberg. Miller began photographing in earnest and quickly proved gifted for the craft. Within months he was traveling across Europe to shoot campaigns for Cacharel and other major fashion houses.
When Miller returned home to L.A., his fashion work caught the eye of record labels such as EMI and by the late 1980s, he was shooting artists as varied as girl rockers The Go-Go's and Heart, to jazz players such as Stan Getz and Herb Alpert. Miller, however, grew up a hip-hop fan, listening to 1580 AM, KDAY, the first 24-hour hip-hop station in the country. In 1989, he snapped his first rap-related cover, for the original N.W.A. group member, Arabian Prince along with his debut solo album. This was the beginning of Miller’s long history of shooting the key figures on the West Coast rap scene, thoroughly compiled in his monograph West Coast Hip-Hop and the subject of his in-progress documentary about the influence of this region's hip-hop culture on the rest of the world.
Mike Miller's first solo exhibition at M+B Photo will include some of Miller’s most recognized images of artist Eazy-E, Snoop Dogg, and Tupac Shakur, along with never before seen photographs depicting the time, culture, and community that gave birth to West Coast rap.
Mike Miller (b. 1964) lives and works in Los Angeles. His work has been included in recent exhibitions at The New York Public Library and The Oakland Museum of California and has been acquired by the by the collections of the Smithsonian, Getty Museum and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, among others.