Born in Salford, Neil Libbert studied at the Regional College of Art in Manchester before starting to work as a photographer and opening his own studio in the city in 1957. He joined the staff of the Manchester Guardian, and moved to the paper's London office in 1961. He stayed with the Guardian until 1965 before working under contract to The Sunday Times, the New York Times, Granada TV and the Illustrated London News until 1968 when he again became a freelance photographer. Libbert still regularly covers performing arts photography for the Observer. His work has been exhibited at the National Theatre, Camden Arts Centre, Whitechapel Gallery, Zelda Cheatle Gallery, Michael Hoppen Gallery and the Stables Gallery, New Mexico among others, and 16 of his works are held in the Collection of the National Portrait Gallery. In 1999 he was Nikon News Photographer of the Year and won a World Press Photo Award for his exclusive coverage of the bombings in The Admiral Duncan pub, Soho which made the front page of the Guardian. Libbert has also received an award for his coverage of the homeless and has made his enduring reputation through street photography and reportage, which includes his coverage of the Brixton riots in 1981.