It probably took a celebrity, and one with a good camera and a good eye, to create the candid pictures of other celebrities — on their own terms, but also on his — in a show of very large photos by musician Bryan Adams.
A Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter who has sold more than 100 million records, Adams’ “Exposed” show is on view at Oklahoma Contemporary (formerly City Arts Center), 3000 Pershing Blvd.
Born in Canada in 1959, Adams has compared photography to songwriting, noting that “it is very easy to write songs, but … very difficult to write good songs.”
“It is quite easy to take pictures, however it is difficult and demanding to take great photographs,” Adams said in a press release for the current show of 41 photos, selected from his book, “Exposed.”
Particularly impressive is his ability and adaptability in meeting his own expectations and those of his subjects in the collaborative act of the photograph, whether the resulting image is low key and candid, or mythic and iconic.
Fitting the “iconic” category nicely is his 2008 black-and-white picture of “Sir Mick Jagger,” turning to look hard at the camera, with his arms raised, his legs cut off, as if he were jumping in space, or gyrating during a rock concert.
Viewed almost as a piece of human sculpture — made up of craggy features, bald head and expressive body language — is actor Ben Kingsley, sitting in an arm chair with knees pulled up, staring into space, in a 2010 photo.
Looking back at us with a lit cigarette in her open red lips, wearing a sleeveless black and white dress, in Adams’ 2007 color picture, “Lindsay Lohan” is a striking figure, indeed, whether or not you are one of her fans.
Even more of a glamorous femme fatale is “Daphne Guinness” in Adams’ 2010 picture of her in London, sitting back in a streamlined modern chair, wearing a black see-through dress and a futuristic lace hat and veil.
Guinness is also black-clad in a second picture, walking on a street in front of a brick wall, wearing high heels and a very wide, outrageous hat or hairdo, that makes her look like some kind of exotic creature of fashion.
A chrome-railed, curving, ultra modern stairway both frames and distances our aerial view of “Monica Bellucci,” lying in a seductive pose on a deep purple-violet couch, wearing a sleek, chic, figure-hugging dress.
Nudity or partial nudity works well for Adams in a number of his most eye-grabbing photographs, which testify to the trust and access he has to his subjects.
A case in point is provided by his 2011 black-and-white photograph of “Yasmin Le Bon,” lying on her back on a desk, with her bosom and legs exposed by her flowing dress, and her long hair nearly reaching the floor.
As natural and carefree as her loose blonde hair is the running-in place pose, between highway stripes, of “Pamela Anderson,” covering her bosom and wearing a long dress that looks like it could be a beach towel in a 1998 photo.
Even more appealing is Adams’ delightful 2008 photograph of Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace, sitting beside an umbrella and rain boots, her purse in her lap, beaming back at us, like almost anybody’s grandmother.
Curated by Anke Degenhard and Mat Humphrey in association with Mary Ann Prior, the show is highly recommended during its run through May 17 at Oklahoma Contemporary.
After that it will be on view from May 31 through July 31 at Marfa Contemporary, a regional extension of Oklahoma Contemporary, in Marfa, Texas.
Hours at Oklahoma Contemporary are from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Call 951-0000 or visit the website at www.oklahomacontemporary.org for information.