Marine Joe Townsend, February 2013 © Bryan Adams
The display of more than 30 portraits depicts young British servicemen and women who have suffered life-changing injuries on military duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Amid tight security, Prince Harry met war veterans before being given a private tour of the exhibition, Wounded: The Legacy of War, which opens today – a year after a book of the same name was published.
Actor Richard E Grant and photographer Mary McCartney were also among around 300 guests at last night’s private view.
Bryan Adams (third from left) and Prince Harry (centre) with war veterans at Somerset House last night [Image, courtesy of Somerset House]
‘The intimate portraits are striking and unsettling, since they do not shy away from the atrocities and aftermath of war,’ said a spokesperson for Somerset House, where the show runs until 25 January 2015.
‘In them, the inspiring individuals show the same spirit of resolve, courageousness and camaraderie in civilian life as in service.’
Bryan Adams began his photographic career in the late ’90s, having taken pictures on tour as a musician.
Addressing guests at last night’s event, Adams said: ‘Looking around the [Somerset House] rooms… you will see the aftermath of war.
‘So many of our soldiers came back and so many didn’t.
‘While discussing the introduction to the book with General Lord Dannatt, as we looked at all the photographs hanging in my studio I remember him saying that many of these people would not have survived if it weren’t for the advancements of medical training in combat.’
Bryan Adams [credit: Chris Cheesman]
The photographer added: ‘This book and exhibition are six years in the making and what was fascinating, but also heartbreaking, was hearing the stories of the servicemen and women.
‘Most of us will not know what it’s like to face the harsh reality of returning home from one battle, only to discover that another battle awaits – rehabilitation.
‘During the course of making these photographs, I was struck by the great sense of humour that many of [the soldiers] have regardless of their circumstances…’
Adams recalled a story told to him by one veteran – a patient at the defence rehabilitation centre, at Headley Court, in Epsom, Surrey. The veteran recounted how he used to ‘hide the wheelchairs and prosthetic limbs of his comrades just to keep everyone’s spirits up’.
Amateur Photographer interviewed Bryan Adams about the project last year.
Adams signed copies of his book, Wounded: The Legacy of War, at last night’s event.
Proceeds from the £50 book go to veteran support charities BLESMA, Blind Veterans UK, Combat Stress, SSAFA and War Child.
Sergeant Rick Clement, June 2013 © Bryan Adams
Rifleman Craig Wood, May 2011 © Bryan Adams
Corporal Ricky Furgusson MC, June 2012 © Bryan Adams