Ex-Police man’s life seen through a lens

Andy Summers first picked up a camera during the long down times when he was touring the world as lead guitarist with the 1970s rock band The Police.

27 February 2019
By Connexion journalist

With so much time to kill between soundchecks and flights, he picked up a camera and started taking photographs.

And so, with the band at the height of their popularity and success, began a second career as a photographer, a parallel life that has brought critical acclaim and seen him exhibit all over the world.

Some of those images taken on tour now form part of his first-ever touring photography and music show entitled Andy Summers, une certaine étrangeté which is at Montpellier’s Pavillon Populaire until April 14.

It his second photography exhibition in France – and his first outside Paris.

Many of the 350 images on display, which were taken between 1979 and 2018, have not been made public before.

As well as the photographs, Mr Summers also composed the music.

He told Connexion his dual role was perfectly natural: “There is a certain logic to make my own music to go with the photography. This is the first time I did it, although I have often considered it. The basic idea is to show the same sensibility in two mediums.

“Obviously they are two different mediums but one informs the other. Both require an ability to recognise shape, form-feeling logic, inside-outside boundaries, and the ability to act fast in a moment and to have an aesthetic, a voice that you know is yours. I look for music in anything I do.”

He promised visitors a ‘dark, melancholy, surreal’ experience.

Below, a few of the 350 or so images taken by former Police guitarist Andy Summers (pictured above left) during the band’s many tours that feature in the exhibition, at the Pavillon Populaire in Montpellier until April 14

Mr Summers has known Gilles Mora, artistic director of the Pavillon Populaire and co-curator of the exhibition for decades. Mr Mora said: “Andy and I first met in 1990, in the studio of our mutual friend Ralph Gibson, in New York.

“Working with him came to mind when I became familiar with his photographs in the early 2000s.

“He is the rare example of someone as good in one field – music – as in the other, photography. He has very strong intelligence and visual sense, a true intuition that photography is both a musical and a visual art. He is the only one, to my knowledge, to master both areas.”

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