Bryan Adams Opens Photography Exhibition In Düsseldorf

For any child of the ’80s, Bryan Adams is that clean-cut Canadian rock star with a steady string of hits. While he’s not as big as he once was, he’s still making great music and going on tour.

What many people don’t know about him is that he’s also an accomplished photographer. He’s been published in magazines such as Esquire and Interview and has done numerous shows at top venues such as the Saatchi Gallery in London.

Adams takes advantage of his superstar status to get other famous musicians to pose for him. Check out the image of Amy Winehouse below. He’s also photographed Queen Elizabeth II and got that image used on a Canadian postage stamp.

Now his latest show has opened at the NRW-Forum in Düsseldorf, Germany. “Bryan Adams – Exposed” features a cross-section of his best work from the past couple of decades. Some 150 portraits of artists are included as well as numerous new works. Some of his newer images go beyond his circle of superstar friends to portray wounded British servicemen from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, like this image of Private Karl Hinett.”I took my first photos with a small camera that belonged to my parents,” Adams said in a press release issued by the NRW-Forum. “The subjects of my first film, in the mid 1970s, were concert photos of the Beach Boys, parking lot walls, my girlfriend in the bathroom, my Mom, my piano, just everyday things, but exactly the things I could see around me.”

“Bryan Adams – Exposed” runs until May 22.

[Images copyright Bryan Adams]

Use a guitar case – Packing tip

A worthy and creative packing idea from a friend I met in rural Bolivia

As a musician, my friend Sean refused to travel without his instrument. After having all his possesions stolen in Ecuador, Sean decided to buy a regular sized guitar case and a travel sized guitar. He stuffed his few necessary belongings in the extra space of the case and continued along his journey with his musical instrument and possessions in tow. He had everything he needed, and traveled with the ease of a wandering muscian without being fingered as the classic backbacking foreigner. Genius!

Pro tip: ditch the guitar and just carry the suitcase. You’re bound to look like a local.

Buy local music – Souvenir tip

Most vacation spots sport all kinds of souvenirs at shops aimed at tourists. Many of these items were manufactured in other countries and have nothing to do with the location you came to visit. Take home a memory and support local creativity everywhere you go. Visit a club or an area with street performers and buy a CD from a musician.

Choose someone whose music you enjoy and strike up a conversation. Get the CD signed, and you’ve succeeded at supporting someone’s music and acquiring a personalized souvenir and a story to go with it.

Virgin Blue calls musician terrorist

It wasn’t until Steve Lucas actually got on the plane that he had a problem. His bullet-studded guitar strap – empty shells, of course – made it through the various points in the Sydney airport’s security gauntlet. Consequently, all his luggage was removed from the Virgin Blue flight.

Three times, the musician of 30 years was called to the front of the plane to sign a statement confirming that he had brought prohibited goods aboard. Lucas claims not to have had any problems with the shells on previous flights while on tour.

Separated from his instruments, Lucas was unable to rehearse in a timely manner, prompting him to call the airline’s complaints line … where he was told he was a potential terrorist.

Mom may have said that rock music will rot your brain, but this is extreme.

Unlike Lucas, these girls were actually *causing* problems in the sky. Click the pictures to find out what they did.

A Canadian In Beijing: Turn Up The Volume

Ember Swift is the newest member of Gadling. Over the next three months, this Canadian woman will be living in and exploring China. During her time there, she’ll be posting regularly about her adventures. Check in every Wednesday and Sunday to see what China is like from a Western perspective…

Beijing is less than one week away and my musician self can barely keep the volume down. My excitement is cranking and I haven’t even started packing yet. That’s tomorrow’s task and it brings me that much closer to eventually hearing the lilt of Mandarin spoken nearly everywhere I go for a solid three months.

I am a full-time musician who has logged a lot of travel miles. I’m onto my fifth touring van since 1997, for instance, and only two died of unnatural causes (one fire, one theft) while all the others were just driven to their graves after years of loyal service. But, to give you more résumé-like context, throughout the past eleven years there have been ten different independent releases (nine albums and one DVD), thousands of performances averaging approximately one hundred and fifty per year, eight tours to Australia (our most frequent overseas destination) and lots of changes to my band line-up which I must confess includes six different drummers – yikes! All in all, it makes my résumé sound heavily steeped in experience but lacking in flavour. Of course, résumé bullet points don’t include the stories. These stories weave in and out of the awards and accolades, times of struggle and periods of prosperity, debt and recovery. They are told in songs or between songs; they’re stage material that keeps this crazy journey full of life.

At the University of Toronto, I completed a degree in East Asian Studies and have four years of university Mandarin training lodged in loyal cavities in my brain. In between university and this nearly-in-China moment, I have pursued my music career full blast (as described above). What has been missing is the subtle connection between my education and my career. Now, nine years since graduation, it’s time to bring it all together.

My life seems to be playing out like a long-laboured-over song arrangement; this is the moment when all of the players are gathered in the same space and it’s time to hear if their parts fit together. There’s excitement and tension simultaneously, but all of the amplifiers are humming and ready.

China has always been my dream destination. . . . “when the music thing was over,” as if it really would be “over” one day. It only recently occurred to me that I am the agent in making any and all dreams come true, and that I didn’t have to wait for one part of my life to die in order to birth another. Besides, who says they aren’t related? It also occurred to me that going to Beijing for three months is very much a career decision. And, it will be. Now – well, now that I’ve listened to those occurrences — the potential seems obvious. It’s spinning before me.

Not only will three months in Beijing be a luxurious block of time and space to write more songs away from the rigorous tour schedule and constant business and band dynamics, but being surrounded by the tonal beauty of the Mandarin language will push my ear into new musical territories. For me, speaking or hearing Mandarin spoken is like singing or being sung to. Top that off with the opportunity to explore what is happening in the music scene of Beijing and we alight on the research portion of my trip: I can finally dust off some undergraduate research work that was an investigation of women and music in China and the growing audibility of women’s voices in the outpouring of Chinese music. My undergrad research was limited by my geography and I always envisioned the research continuing there.

Here is the door. This is me walking through it.

I’ll be starting off my trip as a tourist. Just a couple of days in a downtown hotel before moving to the University district and setting myself up in a dorm room. I’ve already scoped some sightseeing tours that will take me to some official tourist destinations and then spit me out into the registration line at the Beijing Language and Culture University. There, I’ll be refreshing my rusty Mandarin in a part-time morning course at twenty hours a week. The rest of my time will be spent opening many live music venue doors to listen, jam, meet people and cultivate the hope that I’ll eventually bring my band to China. We are an internationally touring act, but not yet in Asia, and I do believe that this journey will yield that opportunity.

Isn’t that all potential is? Finding the open doors? Being open to opening them?

Three months in one place is a radical choice for a gypsy. Keep in mind, however, that this is a city of fourteen million people to keep me occupied! I am looking forward to undressing the underbelly of the arts scene — particularly the music world — and I am sure that three months of networking, connecting, befriending and exploring will yield colorful stories.

So, I start as a tourist, morph into a student and then morph nightly into the artist that I am. Already I’m realizing that I’m really all these things all at once; this cacophony, or symphony, is me.

How will it sound?

I don’t know for sure, but I’m turning up the volume knob anyway.

Call it trust.