Belfast Telegraph

Bryan Adams talks war photographs

Bryan Adams has said it was emotional working on his latest project, photographing wounded servicemen.

The Summer Of 69 singer and photographer has spent the best part of the last five years working on a collection of portraits of wounded servicemen, which are being shown for the first time in the UK at London's Somerset House, and are being published in a book.

Proceeds from the book go to the charities War Child, SSAFA, BLESMA, Blind Veterans and Combat Stress.

The Canadian father-of-two, who lives in London, photographed men and one woman who fought in Afghanistan or Iraq and were injured in the line of duty, many losing limbs and suffering disfiguring burns.

Bryan, 55, said: "When I started looking, I couldn't find any photographs of wounded soldiers, other than perhaps them being decorated, there weren't any portraits like this. I tried to make them look quite proud and heroic.

"There were times where you really had to take a big breath. In one particular case, this young chap was here and his father was in the corner, watching and he just couldn't take it, he was crying. Whereas the son was like, 'This is who I am now and I've just got to get on with it, I'm not going to let it get me down'.

"I heard it explained that the war starts again for them because, when they come home, they have to learn how to rehabilitate themselves and face things that they'd never thought... Everybody had their dreams and had their lives set out for them, they were married or had children or they were expecting children, who knew? So now it was about, 'How do I kick the ball, how do I climb my tree with my son?'."

He hopes seeing the pictures will make people question the futility of warfare.

"It's really up to people who we elect, who we want to represent us and it's up to people how we move forward and whether this kind of thing is necessary in the future," he said. "From my perspective, war is not the answer, and going in and wiping out people like that is not the way to go."

:: Wounded: The Legacy Of War, photographs by Bryan Adams, edited by Caroline Froggatt, is published in hardback by Steidl. Available now. The exhibition of his images is at Somerset House, London, from November 12 to January 25, 2015. Free admission. Visit www.somersethouse.org.uk.

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