Bryan Adams - Exposed 2 February to 22 May 2013Amy Winehouse, London 2010 © Bryan Adams
He is undoubtedly an outstanding musician and composer. But that Bryan Adams is also a gifted photographer is not (as yet) widely known. In addition to his passion for music, his love of art—and of photography in particular—has grown over the past few decades. With the exhibition Bryan Adams – Exposed, the NRW-Forum Düsseldorf will show a comprehensive cross-section of the Canadian’s best works. This will be the first time this collections goes on display in Germany.
Bryan Adams has this to say about his photographic work: ‘I think if you always do the same thing every day, you can get tired of it. So if you change your scenario once in a while, and get back to what you were doing before, you see it in a fresh light.’
‘I took my first photos with a small camera that belonged to my parents,’ says Adams when asked about the genesis of his passion for photography. ‘The subjects of my first film, in the mid 1970s, were concert photos of the Beach Boys, parking lot walls, my girlfriend in the bathroom, my Mom, my piano, just everyday things, but exactly the things I could see around me.’ Over the years, the subjects of Adams’ photos changed. Numerous friends, celebrities, and super stars posed for him including Amy Winehouse, Mick Jagger, Michael Jackson, Ben Kingsley, Mickey Rourke in the bathtub, or Dustin Hoffman wearing a suit and fishing in the sea. In 2002, on the occasion of Queen Elizabeth II’s golden jubilee, he was selected to make a portrait of the queen. The resulting photo later appeared on a Canadian stamp.
Bryan Adams is certainly not the first musician to live out his creativity in the fine arts or in photography: people like Don van Vliet (aka Captain Beefheart), Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, or Bryan Ferry all spring to mind. As Sir Elton John points out in his foreword to the exhibition catalogue, the fact that Adams has direct access to many well-known personalities and icons of the music, film, and celebrity scene make his portraits highly intimate, intense studies, some of which are themselves photographic icons in their own right.
The exhibition includes about 150 of these impressive artists’ portraits and also a completely new series of work that is very dear to Bryan Adams’ heart: portraits of injured soldiers returning from tours of duty abroad. Bryan Adams has had the unique opportunity of photographing British servicemen who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan and paid a heavy price. The images are raw and provocative and show that despite the appalling injuries of these soldiers, life goes on. Through the lens Adams tells the story of their extraordinary courage, defiance and humour. These modern day heroes celebrate their service and survival and demonstrate their incredible resolve in this startling series of portrait photographs. They are proud portraits of inspiring men who whilst not faltering have stood the test of war, and lived to tell the tale.
Bryan Adams is co-publisher of Zoo Magazine, a magazine for photography, which he founded in Berlin in 2004. In 2012, he was presented with the Lead Award for fashion story of the year for his portraits of the artist Hon Daphne Guiness. This is the second time that he has won this award.
Bryan Adams was born in Kingston/Ontario, Canada, on 5 November 1959. He is one of the most successful contemporary rock singers and composers with a string of No. 1 hits around the world to his name such as ‘Summer of ‘69’ and ‘Everything I Do, I Do It For You’. A tireless performer, he is on stage over 100 times a year. Bryan Adams lives in London.
The curator of the exhibition Bryan Adams – Exposed is Anke Degenhard. The exhibition is supported by Carl Zeiss AG. To mark the exhibition, which after Düsseldorf will go on a world tour of major museums, Steidl Verlag has published an opulent book of photos entitled Bryan Adams – Exposed (€64), which can be bought either in the museum shop or online at the NRW-Forum website: www.nrw-forum.de/shop
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