Art

Bryan Adams’ photography will change how you think about homelessness

Rock star photographer Bryan Adams explains why he wanted to take portraits of Big Issue vendors, as his photography goes on show in London.

Bryan Adams photography of Big Issue vendors

Bryan Adams Homeless exhibition at Atlas Gallery. Credit: David Ownes

Bryan Adams: rock star, renowned photographer, great friend of The Big Issue. He has photographed everyone from the Queen to Kate Moss, Amy Winehouse and Mick Jagger, but for a new exhibition in London it is Bryan Adams’ photography of Big Issue vendors that are the focus of attention.

The black and white portraits of vendors, taken from 2011-2017 and released in his 2019 book Homeless, are on display in the UK for the first time. And they are stunning. Striking, moving, questioning portraits of people who are so often overlooked or ignored when selling the magazine – some serious, some thoughtful, some full of joy and laughter, but each telling a story. And as we emerge from lockdown, perhaps with new perspectives on the importance of home, the exhibition could not be more timely.

Bryan Adams joined us via Zoom for a special private view of the exhibition, attended by Big Issue founder John Bird.

Adams said: “This has been such a difficult time for everybody, and particularly homeless people. I’m so proud of the Atlas Gallery for taking it on because the whole point of these portraits is to bring this issue of homelessness to light and make people think about it again. Because so many times we just walk past.”

Adams first worked with The Big Issue in 2011, when guest editor Trudie Styler asked him to photograph vendors.

“I kept thinking it was part of a much bigger story,” he says now. “It needed to be something more. It was something I wanted to spend more time with. So I got in touch with The Big Issue and we organised quite a few shoots to get more vendors to come in and be part of the series.

“I’m really impressed with The Big Issue. It’s such a clever idea and it’s helped so many people. So I was curious to see if I can take it to another dimension, add something to it that had an artistic quality and bring it back to the public. I feel it’s a lasting document to a particular time in history.”

Bryan Adams’ photography exhibition, Homeless, is at the Atlas Gallery, Dorset Street, London until June 12. atlasgallery.com

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
'Each brush tells a story of hope': Homeless artist hosts exhibition to help himself off the streets
homeless artist David Bedford
Homelessness

'Each brush tells a story of hope': Homeless artist hosts exhibition to help himself off the streets

Those wounded by the Troubles still walk among us. Their pain is as relevant today as ever
Art

Those wounded by the Troubles still walk among us. Their pain is as relevant today as ever

Artist Aasen Stephenson turns leaves into astounding works of art: 'Nothing beats what nature makes'
The Leaf Man at work in his studio
Art

Artist Aasen Stephenson turns leaves into astounding works of art: 'Nothing beats what nature makes'

Artist Ray Young: 'Our government is threatening disabled people's rights – there's no compassion'
Theatre

Artist Ray Young: 'Our government is threatening disabled people's rights – there's no compassion'

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know