John Swannell

Andy Warhol

John Swannell was born in 1946. After leaving school at 16, he first worked as an assistant at Vogue Studios, going on to work under David Bailey for four years before setting up his own studio. He spent the next ten years travelling and working for magazines such as Harpers & Queen, the Sunday Times Magazine and Tatler. During this time he developed his distinctive, individual style in both fashion and beauty photography.

In 1989 Swannell had a one man show at The Royal Academy in Edinburgh, followed in 1990 by an exhibition at the city’s National Portrait Gallery. In July of the same year, The Royal Photographic Society held a retrospective of his fashion work. In 1993 he was made a fellow of The Royal Photographic Society – one of the youngest ever members to be given this honour at the time. In November 1994, Diana, The Princess of Wales personally commissioned Swannell to photograph her and her sons. 

From November 1996 to March 1997, The National Portrait Gallery in London put on a solo show of his portraits to celebrate the publication of his book Twenty Years On. His work is held in collections at the V&A, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Royal Photographic Society.

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