2 Jun 2012

John Swannell: the Queen through my eyes

To mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Channel 4 News asks a cartoonist, a sculptor, an actress and a photographer to describe their view of her majesty.

John Swannell began his career working for Vogue and the legendary photographer David Bailey.

In 2002 he photographed the Queen for her Golden Jubilee and has photographed a number of other members of the royal family including the Princess Royal and the Earl and Countess of Wessex.

He told Channel 4 News the first time her photographed the Queen it was “really scary”.

“The Queen Mother, Prince Charles and Prince William, all in one picture for a stamp and they said you know it’s really important this picture… it’s the most important picture since Queen Victoria,” he explained.

“I said ‘ok how long have I got?’ and they said ’10 minutes’.

“It was a nightmare. If they leant right or left the perforation would go straight through their head.

“In a way nobody really gets to know the Queen because she is not aloof – she is with you trying to make the picture work – but she is the Queen.

“She is special. You can’t put it out of your head, you can’t pretend she is normal because she is not – but she is chatty.”

Hew Locke Steve Bell Susan Jameson John Scannel