Bryan Adams reveals “I'm a photographer moonlighting as a singer”

Cover of Classic Rock Magazine guest edited by Bryan Adams
(Image credit: Future)

Everyone will undoubtedly know Bryan Adams from his distinguished career as a classic rock musician, but fewer people are aware of his parallel career as a professional portrait photographer. Adams was asked to guest edit this month's issue of Classic Rock magazine where he discusses his music career, but also gives insight into his photography. 

Included in this issue of Classic Rock is a fantastic interview with Adams where he talks about his personal life, music career, and getting started as a photographer. The issue also features a gallery of portraits of musical icons such as Billy Idol and Amy Winehouse, taken by Adams. 

Read our other article on Bryan Adams for more details on his photography.

Harrods Rocks Exhibition of customised guitars by rock and pop ledgends and famous designers, Bryan Adams photograph of Kate Moss - 18th February 2006. Job: 19893 Ref: JHY - (Photo by John Horsley/Avalon/Getty Images)

Bryan Adams' photograph of Kate Moss on a customized guitar (Image credit: Getty Images)

In the issue, Adams recalls his favorite photographs and recounts a great anecdote about the first time he worked with Kate Moss. Adams was told that supermodel was on her way over to his place for a shoot, and insisted on only wearing black stockings - much to the delight of the builders who were working on Adams' home! Adams goes on to praise Moss' nonchalant attitude toward the situation stating that Moss would be exchanging pleasantries "whilst sitting in her pants".   

Any insight into the creative process and journey of an artist can provide a unique and valuable lesson. One particular portion of the interview touched upon his approach to photographing portraits, and it resonated with me. Adams speaks about not taking it too seriously and the problems that occur when trying to force a great portrait. Adams says "...I like to have a bit of a laugh. I don't want it to be too stressful and I want people to look great... I'm just trying to find those two or three frames that are different from anything else". This, in my opinion, is the key to the intimate nature of his portraits.

Bryan Adams with guitar on stage in 2019  (Image credit: Getty Images)

Since 1998 Bryan Adams has forged a career as a professional photographer, photographing icons such as Muhammed Ali, Mick Jagger, Kate Moss, and even Queen Elizabeth II.

Adams has always had an interest in photography and would carry a camera everywhere, capturing life on the road and backstage as a musician. Initially, he never shared his images, with the belief that he was not a 'real' photographer, therefore keeping his images private. It wasn't until the late 90s when Adams decided enough was enough and started sharing his work, preferring his own images to the 'real' photographer he had hired for an album release. Adams is quoted as saying "The more I did it, though, the more confidence I got in my own I just started taking things into my own hands", teaching a valuable lesson in perseverance and self-belief.

Bryan Adams poses in front of his portrait of Mick Jagger in 2009 (Image credit: Getty Images)

Since then Adams' photographic career has gone supersonic capturing some of the most recognizable faces of the modern day. These days Bryan Adams says he's more of "a photographer moonlighting as a singer". His work has been exhibited around the world and several books have been published of his works. Adams was also called upon to shoot the prestigious Pirelli Calander (2021), an honor reserved for only the most revered photographers with previous photographers including Peter Lindbergh, Richard Avedon, and Annie Leibovitz

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Kalum Carter
Staff Writer

Kalum Carter is a UK-based photographer, writer, and photo editor. Kalum has been working as a freelance photographer for the best part of ten years, covering a wide range of assignments for well-known brands and publications in areas including portraiture, fashion, and documentary. 

Between commercial assignments, Kalum is currently working on a personal photography project exploring his connection to the Gower region of South Wales UK, as part of an MA in Photography from The University of West England.