He may be more famous for his work behind the microphone than the camera – but Bryan Adams has teamed up with The Big Issue to produce a new photography book focusing on the lives of vendors.
The Summer of ’69 singer has released Homeless, a new book that captures portraits of 84 Big Issue vendors and focuses on their stories in a whole new way.
The book stems back from Adams’ contribution to the magazine in 2011 when actress and producer Trudie Styler guest edited an edition. Adams was approached by Styler to offer a more in-depth photographic look at vendors and since then, the multi-skilled Canadian has captured shots of sellers whenever he can, building up to the publication of Homeless, which is out now.
Thank goodness for organisations such as The Big Issue in the UK, who give the support the homeless need to get back on their feet
Adams said: “The photographs I took of people who live rough on the streets of London highlight an unavoidable fact, and almost every city around the world has a similar problem: too many people fall between the cracks and have no means to sustain a roof over their head.
“Thank goodness for organisations such as The Big Issue in the UK, who give the support the homeless need to get back on their feet. They help the vendors earn their own independent living by selling magazines on the streets – and many people, some featured in this book, have survived because of this.”
The book exposes the stories of vendors like Sam Woodlock, who started selling the magazine 21 years ago in Covent Garden and has gone on to conquer addiction to now become a franchisee helping other vendors.
The Big Issue has inspired the launch of 120 street papers globally, including sister titles in Australia, South Africa, Japan, Taiwan and Korea.
And Paul Barton who sold the magazine on Great Portland Street in London until early 2018 when he left to finish his law degree, hoping to become the first homeless person to become qualified in law.
Another vendor featured in the book, Kevin Young, said: “That made my day meeting him. I was buzzing for days. He is such a lovely man. Really nice meeting him. He’s the most famous person I have met but he is really down to earth.”
And Adams hopes that stories like these will change the perception of homelessness.
“Homelessness is too widespread and significant to ignore,” Adams added. “Hopefully after reading this, you might think twice as you walk past someone trying to make their way selling the magazine, or even busking on the street. These are people have lost their anchor and their compass, so need our compassionate understanding and our help.”
All proceeds will go towards The Big Issue Foundation, The Big Issue’s charitable arm, to help provide vital support to vendors.
“Our vendors remain at the very heart of everything: we exist for them and we will remain so long as they need us,” said Lord John Bird, Founder of The Big Issue. “But frequently people don’t see them. Selling The Big Issue is a hard job. The street is unforgiving. And an opportunity to look as these men and women anew, and honestly, is welcome. Bryan Adams sees them and he is making us all look again.”