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John Swannell (born 1946)

John Swannell (born 1946)

One evening in Nepal, in 1970, David Bailey’s assistant answered a knock at his hotel room door to find, Lucia, the young fashion assistant from '
Italian Vogue'. She was in tears – this was her first shoot, Bailey had been piling on the pressure, and her resolve had cracked. Inviting her in for a drink, he explained that she was not the first, and certainly would not be the last person to find Bailey difficult to work with. Furthermore, he himself had learned that – in order to get the best out of the great man – one simply had to get on with the job, and give as good as one got. Convincing her took a while, but eventually she left feeling positive and able to steel herself for the rest of the shoot.

Five years later, that young assistant, John Swannell, was newly freelance and in Milan touting his own somewhat slim portfolio around the fashion magazines. Magazine after magazine threw him out without so much as a ‘grazie’, but luck was on his side.

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