The Leica Gallery London will be showcasing 25 photos from photographer and formely The Police guitarist Andy Summers in an upcoming exhibition from 26 March to 30 April 2023.
Summers first took up photography while on tour in September 1979, when The Police were experiencing their first great success in the United States and has become known for his street scenes in American and Japanese metropolises and bizarre moments in South American cities, a Leica M4-2 and Leica M Monochrom being his cameras of choice.
He has said about his experience with Leica cameras, “I was hooked immediately. I felt that the Leica slowed down my picture taking; made it more meditative; made me think more, before pressing the button – with this camera, I felt as if I was finally stepping onto the true path”.
His photographs have been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world, including France, Australia, Japan, Canada, Spain and the United States.
Summers has been developing a unique body of photographic work which he sees as a mental and visual counterpart to his music. For him, music and photography belong together: “The qualities I am looking for are musical. That is the condition. You think of music in terms of harmony, line, shape, volume, quietness, dynamics… I think all of those terms can be translated into photography.”
It all began on tour in September 1979, when The Police were experiencing their first great success in the USA: “Sitting in a mid-town hotel room in New York, watching American television and running my hand up and down the neck of a battered Telecaster, it came to me that I should get a real camera,” Summer explains. Though he mentions the idea very
casually, it was to be of momentous importance: “Our band, The Police, was moving fast in the US. It was fun, but sitting around and staring at the walls of hotel rooms was boring – and we needed diversions.”
Fortunately, right from the start, photography has always been more for Summers than just a distraction from the monotony of eternally identical hotel rooms. His preferred themes can be street scenes in American or Japanese metropolises or surreal and bizarre moments in South American cities for example. To Summers they reflect an urban surrealism; the “special strangeness” that arises when we question the seemingly familiar, for him the camera is the
most natural instrument to record these moments.
In terms of his choice of camera, he was influenced and guided by one of the greats – Ralph Gibson. After being introduced to the Leica M4-2, he completely rediscovered photography: “I was hooked immediately. I felt that the Leica slowed down my picture taking; made it more meditative; made me think more, before pressing the button – with this camera, I felt as if I was finally stepping onto the true path”.
After the band finally said farewell in 2008, Summers continued his career as a solo musician. Photography however had become an essential part of his life and his Leica M4-2 was joined by a Leica M Monochrom camera.
The Leica Gallery London exhibition will showcase 25 photographs from Andy Summer’s extensive career as a photographer, all of which are available for purchase together with two exclusive publications – Harmonics of the Night – a bespoke concertina-style limited edition memento of the exhibition and A Series of Glances the new coffee table book produced by TeNeues.
His photographs have been shown to huge acclaim in galleries and museums worldwide, including France, Australia, Japan, Canada, Spain and the USA, accompanied by feverish magazine coverage.
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