Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Bryan Adams turns page with Exposed photography

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Bryan Adams is just as comfortable behind the lens as he is in front of it.

The Canadian rocker has been taking snapshots of celebrity friends for years, many of which he published in his German fashion magazine, Zoo, as well as in Harper's Bazaar, Esquire and Vogue.

Over a decade into his photography career, Adams has collected some of his favourite shots in a book entitled Exposed published by German art house books publisher Steidl (304 pages, $92.50), featuring photos of icons such as Amy Winehouse, the Queen, Mick Jagger and many more.

His photography exhibit is touring Europe and the U.S., and Adams said he hopes it will eventually land in Vancouver.

Q: What prompted the decision to collect your photography into a book like Exposed?

A: I needed to do this in order to get into the next thing -- it's like starting a new chapter. Plus not many people have seen this work, so it's quite nice to put it in one place.

Q: Over a decade's worth of work is a lot to sift through. What criteria did you apply in selecting the photographs that made it into the book?

A: Editing is a very long and drawn-out process, and putting shots together isn't always the easiest thing to do. It was all about careful consideration and also about remembering where everything was. Imagine trying to find 10 years worth of negatives -- luckily, most things were there.

Q: Amy Winehouse is a big highlight of the book. What do you feel your pictures (both from the Martinique and London shoots) say about her and about the way you saw her?

A: I guess I was closer to her than many people. She trusted me. The last session we did is the most successful one, which we shot for Harper's Bazaar. It really shows her having fun. Most of these selections are outtakes from that shoot, and have never been published until now.

Q: Speaking of the way you see your subjects: How has the way you approach a shoot changed over the years?

A: Interestingly, when putting the older photos in with the newer ones, it all seemed to make sense, which was a lucky thing as I've never been too fancy with lighting -- I've always kept it simple.

Q: How did the photo of the Queen at Buckingham Palace, which is just a disarming shot, come about?

A: The Queen's photo was taken for her Golden Jubilee in 2002 and I was chosen, being Canadian, with other members of the Commonwealth. Each of us got five minutes on different days to do as we liked in a location chosen by the palace. It just so happened that the location was ideal, and ironically it was taken with my snap camera not with my 10x8 camera, which was the principal camera of the shoot.

Q: Your work goes from the candid and hyper-real (Michael Jackson at the World Music Awards, Marianne Faithfull smoking in bed) to the hyper-stylized, fashion-style setup (Karen Elson, Ben Kingsley, Daphne Guinness). Do you find certain subjects suit a certain style better than others?

A: I wanted to show a cross-section of personalities and moods. Sometimes the feeling of a candid shot is a welcome break from something stylized and vice versa. But ultimately there is no such thing as a better subject, because in the end you will be drawn to the things that make a shot work regardless of who you are with.

Q: Beyond what the pictures say about your subjects, what do you feel the photos say about you?

A: "He's a crazy creative person that has got too much time on his hands -- someone put this guy on the road!"

-- Postmedia News

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 17, 2012 D4

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