Bryan Adams gets "Exposed" in new book

Bryan Adams performs in Bratislava on July 28, 2012. Getty

Bryan Adams' interest in photography began in the 1990s just as a hobby, really.

The man behind such massive hits as "Summer of '69" and "(Everything I Do) I Do it For You" figured he would document life on the road and in the studio, and take a few self-portraits along the way.

"I thought, 'Let's just do some pictures of myself and see how they turn out.' I consider myself one of the most loathsome creatures," he joked during a recent visit to CBSNews.com. "Honestly the most difficult subject to work with is myself. So I was really curious to see how it would turn out. I guess I'm quite lenient in some ways about what I will do."

The Canadian rocker, who now calls London home, was "lenient" enough that he took some nude photos of himself for his 1999 greatest hits collection, "The Best of Me."

"I did body shots of me naked and what was really curious about it was that nobody said anything. There were pictures of my ass, and nobody said anything. It's not even a bad ass," Adams, 53, said laughing. "I was goofing off really. I was just having fun...Truthfully, the thing that really got me excited about pictures was aside from the fact that it was quite fun to take them, was working with printers who had a lot of experience."

Bryan Adams - "Exposed," 2012.
Steidl

Now more than  a decade later, the musician-turned-shutterbug has photographed portraits of friends and colleagues in the entertainment, fashion and art industries. He's shot everyone from Amy Winehouse and Queen Elizabeth II to Michael Jackson and Ben Kingsley. Interview and Harper's Bazaar have published his work over the years, and in 2003, Adams, who splits his time between music and photography, founded ZooMagazine.com, where his pictures also appear.

Some of his photographs, though, can now be found in one place: the newly-published "Exposed," Adams' first retrospective book of photography.

"It was suggested sort of a few times but it wasn't really until a couple of years ago that I felt as though the work that I had done would stand up for itself as one continuous body and would be interesting enough to actually make a book," Adams said. "I didn't want to be presumptuous that just because I've done some pictures that that would be enough...I think a couple of years ago I felt confident that there was enough there."

The book has been a couple of years in the making. In between songwriting and heavy touring, Adams and an assistant spent hours digging through archival photos, much of which were on film and not in digital format.

"First of all, I'm not known as a photographer, so to do it, you really want to ensure the work stands up for itself...Also trying to put things together in a way that works with each other," Adams said of compiling his pictures. "Taking pictures out and trying things -- it nearly killed me. The amount of work put into making the book -- it was colossal."

The work apparently paid off. The book, which features a foreword by Elton John, includes intimate portraits of Mick Jagger, Lindsay Lohan and Billy Idol, among other well-known figures.

Many of the pictures are "reasonably unknown," Adams points out, even though some have been published one way or another.

"The book actually has a lot of memorable shots," Adams said. "I chose some of my most memorable pictures, I think."

"What's been really nice is getting to know a lot of the characters in the music world," Adams said. "I get to meet them and work with them in an area, which wouldn't happen ordinarily...I've worked with almost everybody. It's been really, really amazing to get to know people on a different level."

Adams' photography work is getting the exhibition-treatment, too.

"Exposed" has been on exhibition at the Multimedia Art Museum in Moscow and will be on display in Dallas next month at the Goss-Michael Foundation Gallery. Next year, the exhibition moves to London; Doha, Qatar; and Dusseldorf, Germany.

Adams plans to continue work on both music and photography.

"I think that something will come up and I'll wonder how I'll make it work," he said. "I always try to make the best of everything that I set apart to do."

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