Swannell left school at the age of sixteen and quickly immersed himself in the photography world. He worked as an assistant at Vogue’s studios, watching the likes of Richard Avedon and David Bailey at work. Bailey then employed Swannell as an assistant from 1969-73, before the rising photographer set up his own studio. Since then Swannell has worked regularly for the likes of Vogue, Tatler and The Sunday Times, developing his distinctive style. His beauty and fashion photographs are classically composed and are concerned with elegant forms and subtle lighting, whilst his portraits often offer an intriguing insight into an aspect of the sitter’s personality.