John Swannell was born in 1946. After leaving school at 16, he worked
first as an assistant at Vogue Studios and then assisted David Bailey
for four years before setting up his own studio.
He spent the next ten years travelling and working for magazines
such as Vogue, Harpers & Queen, the Sunday Times and Tatler.
During this time he developed his very distinctive, individual style
in both fashion and beauty photography.
Various exhibitions of his work in London and Europe confirmed his
growing reputation as a photographer.
In 1989 John Swannell had a one man show at The Royal Academy in
Edinburgh, followed in 1990 by an exhibition at The National Portrait
Gallery in Edinburgh. In July of the same year The Royal Photographic
Society held a retrospective
of his fashion work.
In 1993 John Swannell was awarded a Fellowship of The Royal Photographic
Society; he was one of the youngest members to have achieved this
status at the time.
In November 1994, Diana, The Princess of Wales personally commissioned
John to photograph her together with her sons.
From November 1996 to March 1997 John had a one man show of his
portraits at The National Portrait Gallery in London to celebrate
the publication of his book Twenty Years On which are
now held in their archives.
John photographed HRH The Princess Royal for her fortieth and fiftieth
birthdays. The Royal Mail commissioned John to photograph the Duke
and Duchess of Wessex for a stamp celebrating their wedding and
for the celebration stamp marking the occasion of HM Queen Elizabeth
the Queen Mothers 100th birthday in 2001. In 2002 John was
one of the photographers asked to photograph HM the Queen to celebrate
her Golden Jubliee. The images were used in the press and exhibited
at Windsor Castle and at the National Portrait Gallery. He has also
been commissioned to photograph Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair.
An exhibition sponsored by Olympus to launch his book Im
Still Standing was held in London in November of 2002. The
images were then exhibited at Dimbola Lodge, the home of Julia Margaret
Cameron, later in 2003.
In November 2006 John had an exhibition of platinum prints at Hoopers
Gallery in London to coincide with the launch of Nudes 1978-2006,
an anthology of all his nudes until that date.
The National Portrait Gallery in London has over fifty of his photographs,
and The V&A , The National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh, The
Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Royal Photographic Society
now have many of Johns works in their permanent collections.
He has published four monographs; Fine Lines (1982), Naked Landscape
(1986), Twenty Years On (1996), Nudes 1978-2006 (2006) and was included
in Ten Out Of Ten (2001); a collection of the best of British photographers,
all the proceeds of which went to the NSPCC.
Im still standing , a book of celebrity portraits was published
in November 2002, all profits made by John going to help children
with autism and Aspergers.