Nigel Swinn was born in Masterton in 1957. Growing up in Wainuiomata in the sixties, he would paint murals on covered walkways at Wainui College during lunch breaks to get out of sports. He attended Wellington Polytechnic School of Design in the seventies and was a contemporary of the artist John Drawbridge.
Swinn has travelled extensively throughout his career, returning home to New Zealand to revitalise his own identity as a both a New Zealander, and a photographer.
He now lives in Pauatanaui, Wellington with his wife, dog and 17 acres of wind-beaten pohutukawas.