This November, Somerset House is proud to present Wounded: The Legacy of War, an exhibition of photographs by Bryan Adams of young British servicemen and women who have suffered life-changing injuries on military duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Featuring over 30 portraits on public display for the first time in the UK, the startling series honours the war heroes of today and highlights the plight of wounded personnel.
At the time of military withdrawal from Afghanistan and centenary commemorations of the First World War, the exhibition will serve as a timely and thought-provoking tribute to those who continue to put their lives in danger in the line of duty. A band of brothers and sisters who returned home for rehabilitation and resettlement, their disfigurements and disabilities act as a reminder of the battles beyond combat – mentally, emotionally and physically.
The intimate portraits are striking and unsettling, since they do not shy away from the atrocities and aftermath of war. In them, the inspiring individuals show the same spirit of resolve, courageousness and camaraderie in civilian life as in service. Their searingly honest and heartfelt stories will share the wall space with their pictures to provide insights into the personal paths of conflict to recovery.
Bryan Adams said: “The human cost of conflict is a narrative which, like many of us, feels personal to me. My grandfathers and father were in the British Army, so the act of remembrance – both for the fallen and the wounded – was instilled into me from a young age and it’s a theme I’ve previously touched upon in my music.
“When we first discussed the idea of this project five years ago, I always envisaged it as an exhibition so I’m thrilled it’s finally come full circle and it’s going to be exhibited at the prestigious Somerset House.”
Bryan Adams began his photographic career in the late nineties, after years of taking pictures while on tour as a musician. Having worked for various magazines, he co-founded Zoo Magazine in 2003, a quarterly art/fashion magazine published in Europe, for which he continues to regularly shoot. In 2012 Adams published his first photographic book Exposed which features portraits of friends and colleagues in the entertainment, fashion and art industries.
The exhibition is accompanied by a stunning coffee table book, Wounded: The Legacy of War published by Steidl, priced at £50 with proceeds from the book going to veteran support charities BLESMA, Blind Veterans UK, Combat Stress and SSAFA, and War Child. It features images of 40 veteran soldiers taken by Adams, accompanied by each soldier’s personal story. The book is edited by ITN journalist Caroline Froggatt with a foreword by General the Lord Dannatt and will be available at Somerset House.