Bryan Adams

Galerie Andres Thalmann, Zurich


Opening Thursday, 7th June 2024, 6 – 8 p.m.
Exhibition, 8th June
– 14th September, 2024

From Mick Jagger screaming energetically at the audience to Kate Moss lasciviously flirting with the camera to Her Majesty the Queen grinning as she demurely sits next to a pair of wellies – these personalities could hardly be less alike, yet they have all been captured in portraits by Bryan Adams‘s camera.


Since the 1990s, singer/songwriter Adams – aside from his successes in the world of music – has enjoyed an outstanding parallel career as a photographer, winning several awards for his camera work, among them two prestigious Lead Awards. The inspiration for his work has always been people, and he has dedicated a variety of series to the challenging genre of portrait photography.


In the exhibition Bryan Adams – EXPOSED, he shares with us portraits of many celebrities from the worlds of entertainment, fashion, politics, and the arts. He shows us how he successfully brings out the character and traits of the people he photographs and captures with his camera. His works are honest and dignified portraits that demonstrate a subtle depth.


Mostly taken from a very close perspective, these photos not only convey a private, intimate atmosphere, but also visually bespeak the great trust that exists between friends, one in front of the camera, the other behind it. Some of the images – for example one of Kate Moss – are at once quiet and placid, whilst at the same time managing to capture a hypnotic intensity that completely captivates the viewer. Others, like the ones of Mick Jagger, sparkle with a wild eccentricity that cannot help but affect us with their infectious euphoria.


Adams often toys with the clichés that symbolise his subjects’ character but includes them in a playful or humorous way, for example posing celebrities with the stereotypical accoutrements of their fame – which is not unlike what we see in traditional portraiture. In the portrait of Mötley Crüe’s Tommy Lee, he is stationed at his drum kit, whilst Taylor Swift is pictures with her guitar, and Amy Winehouse alongside a record player.

Sometimes Adam‘s photographs reveal different, even opposing personalities. This element of contrast may also be accentuated in the way the images are processed. In addition to elegant black and white photos, the EXPOSED exhibition includes latest works from his series In Colour as well. In these images, the portraits are immersed in bright, even garish, colours emanating from frames of radiant orange, blue or even pink glass. Adams uses this shrill colour very deliberately – it not only changes the way the photos look but creates an entirely new atmosphere. It also endows the portraits with a somewhat “pop art” character – perfectly underlining the cult status of the celebrated personalities he is portraying.


Born in Kingston, Ontario, in 1959, Canadian Bryan Adams is a singer/songwriter as well as a photographer. His images have been published in British Vogue, L‘uomo Vogue, American Vanity Fair, Harper‘s Bazaar, British GQ, Esquire, Interview Magazine and i-D. Adams has also photographed advertising campaigns for such renowned brands as Hugo Boss, Guess Jeans, Sand, Converse, Montblanc, Omega, John Richmond, Fred Perry, Escada, Windsor, Kaldewei, Jaguar and OPEL. He was one of the co-founders of Zoo Magazine, celebrating the worlds of art and fashion, in 2003. In all he has published five books of his photographic work.

Public exhibitions of his work have taken place all over the world, for example at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (Canada), Somerset House in London (UK), the Centro Cultural de Cascais (Portugal), the NRW-Forum in Düsseldorf (Germany), the Fotografiska in Stockholm (Sweden), and the War Memorial Museum in Seoul (South Korea) – to name just a few.


Anke Degenhard and Justine Krämer