Andy Summers, born in Blackpool, England in 1942, is certainly one of Britain's most prominent artists of the last 50 years. Most people will be familiar with him as the guitarist in the legendary band The Police. With his virtuoso, rhythmically diverse playing, which is characterized by jazz, punk and reggae influences, among others, he contributed significantly to the unmistakable sound of the British rock trio.
Versatility as a trademark
Summers' diverse artistic talents became apparent at an early age: He began playing the piano at the age of six and turned to the guitar at eleven. In the 1960s, he played his way through the British music scene - from funky soul with Zoot Money to jazz fusion with Soft Machine and earthy blues with Eric Burdon's Animals.
After studying music at the renowned California State University (UCLA), he became a valued session and tour guitarist for greats such as Joan Armatrading and Neil Sedaka. His collaboration with Eberhard Schoener had a fateful significance - it was on this occasion that Summers met his later Police colleagues Gordon "Sting" Sumner and Stewart Copeland.
Never on tour without a camera
Andy Summers' big breakthrough as a musician came with The Police - with five extremely successful studio albums, tours all over the world and millions of enthusiastic fans. At some point, Summers began to use the time between gigs to roam around with his camera and take pictures of anything he found interesting. He soon discovered that his photographs followed similar principles to his music: they tend towards strong contrasts, often have rhythmic qualities and show situations that seem to have fallen out of everyday life and time and can be interpreted in many different ways.
Originally merely an "outlet" against the stress of touring, photography developed into a second passion for Summers alongside music. He sought contact with professionals, perfected his technique and developed his very own, unmistakable visual language.
Not following well-trodden paths
Andy Summers reflects very intensively on what he does. He has never taken the easy way out, neither in his music nor in his photography, but has always sought paths beyond all conventions: In music, he was inspired by Thelonious Monk's unusual harmony sequences, among other things. In photography, he counts the surrealist Man Ray among his great role models.
What particularly appeals to him in photography is when objects in his pictures enter into an unusual relationship with one another. When sharp black and white contrasts develop a special dynamic. When rhythm can be visually experienced in the image. Above all, however, it is the ambiguity of the photographed scenes that fascinates Summers. In this way, he succeeds in unleashing very individual chains of associations in the minds of the viewers of his photographs.
Successfully on the road alone
After the break-up of The Police, Andy Summers never allowed himself to be tied down to one particular direction. Musically, he repeatedly crossed genre boundaries, including recording prog rock albums with King Crimson boss Robert Fripp, creating a jazzy, stylistically extremely varied homage to Thelonious Monk and also turning to film music.
He also continued to develop his own signature style in photography and received recognition for his work at exhibitions around the world, including at the Ernst Leitz Museum in Wetzlar in 2022. He prefers to use a Leica M10 and an M10R for his photographs. Today, he strives to combine photography and music in multimedia installations.
After books such as "THROB" (1983), "Light Strings: Impressions of the Guitar" (together with Ralph Gibson, 2004), "One Train Later: A Memoir" (2006), "I'll be Watching You. Inside the Police 1980-83" (2007), "Desirer Walks the Streets (2009), "A Certain Strangeness" (with Gilles Mora, 2019) and the short story collection "Fretted and Moaning" (2021), Andy Summers now presents "A Series of Glances", the most comprehensive retrospective of his photographic work to date. The elaborately designed photo book contains very personal travel impressions, portraits, nudes and street scenes, all of which are characterized by Summers' unerring sense for extraordinary moments.
"A Series of Glances" is a carefully curated publication for fans and places important works by the great British artist from several decades in a common context. Buyers of the book will also receive access to an exclusive interview and eight new songs by Andy Summers via a smartphone app, which will only be available with the book "A Series of Glances".
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