His photography is taking center stage these days thanks to a traveling exhibition and a new book, both titled “Exposed,” but Bryan Adams hasn’t forsaken music.
In fact, the Canadian singer and songwriter tells Billboard that he’s “just cut 30 songs. Hopefully there’s a record in there somewhere. It’s rockin’. It’s better to over-cut and see what you’ve got — then you step away for a month or two and come back and listen to it.” Adams worked with Bob Rock, who co-produced his 1998 album “On a Day Like Today,” as well as David Foster, who Adams says is interesting in signing him to his 143 Records label in America. “I’ve been on my own timetable for quite a while now,” Adams says. “The music business is in such peril now. It’s such a shame. I’ve just kept myself afloat by touring.. basically 120 shows a year.” Nevertheless, Adams says he plans to “do another album” rather than release more sporadic singles.
Meanwhile, Adams is happily rolling out the “Exposed” book, a monograph compiling images of Mick Jagger, Elton John (who wrote the foreword), the late Amy Winehouse, Ben Kingsley, Michael Jackson, Sting, Lindsay Lohan, Michael J. Fox, Mickey Rourke and others. “Naturally you see the progression from the early work to the later work, and most of it has to do with lighting,” says Adams, whose photo work has appeared in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Interview, i-D and more. “It was quite a task to go through 10 to 12 years of work and try and compile it in one book. It was a big job, but the feeling of having done it is tremendous.”
Adams notes that most of his subjects “know how to present themselves, and they’re also great fun and, to be honest, really up for most anything.” The selection process brought back plenty of memories, including Jagger bringing “his iPod, and it was full of great blues music. Quite a bit of the time was talking about the songs and what was coming up, and we’d intersperse it with doing pictures.” The Michael Jackson image is a single shot Adams took while photographing the World Music Awards for Vogue, while he managed to convince Pink to go topless during their session. “It was a nice day,” Adams recalls. “It was kind of hot outside. I suggested it might be a good idea; she said to me, ‘Not even my husband talks to me like that,’ and then off came her T-shirt.”
Adams was also one of a handful of photographers invited to shoot Queen Elizabeth II during her Jubilee celebration. “I got a call one day saying, ‘Would like you like to go down and shoot Her Majesty?’ ” Adams remembers. “I said ‘Yeah, that would be great. Whereabouts should I go?’ They said, ‘Well, you’d have to go to her house?’ I said, ‘Oh, where’s her house?’ ‘It’s called Buckingham Palace.’ I said, ‘I know where that is.’ It didn’t occur to me that it was her house, you know? But I guess it is.”
The session, meanwhile, was quick but “delightful. They’re interested and they’re interesting. I brought a really big, old camera to shoot with, and they both — because she was with Prince Philip at the time — remarked they hadn’t seen a camera like that in awhile. Ironically, the shot that’s in the book was taken with my little pocket camera.”
Adams’ “Exposed” exhibition, meanwhile, recently closed at the Museum of Multi Media in Moscow, and is headed to Hamburg before moving on to Dallas in December. More stops are scheduled for 2013.