Book Review: A Certain Strangeness
The loud chanting of rabid fans echoes throughout the stadium as the Blitzkrieg lights cover the stage. The chanting gets louder and louder. The lights dim. Silence falls for a brief moment. The Police take the stage The crowd erupts into a roar as the band members all begin to bring the house down playing fan-favorite songs as they hammered away on their instruments with reckless abandon. Andy Summers has taken center stage ready to tell his story to the world.
Aside from his responsibilities as the lead guitarist, and main song composer of The Police, Andy Summers is also a passionate photographer who viewed his photography as a visual counterpart to his own music. His book, A Certain Strangeness, serves not only as a collection of photos he has taken over the course of his musical career but, as an ode to the entirety of his life.
Through the use of his own photography and storytelling, Summers takes us back in time to the early 80s. At this time The Police were on the brink of stardom. Everywhere Summers went during this time, he was surrounded by photographers and the lenses that accompanied them. Summers tells us that even though he had been always interested in photography, it wasn’t until he went out on the town with a well-known rock band photographer, that he decided to jump headfirst into the art form.
Photographs have the ability to take us back to the moment they were taken while placing us in the shoes of the photographer who took them. Photography allows us to relive and experience that moment over and over. Andy Summers’ photography is no different. The more we gaze at his photographs, the more we feel ourselves being pulled back in time to the moment the photo was taken. The photos presented within A Certain Strangeness cannot be locked down into one specific genre. Andy Summers’ has taken a myriad of different types of shots ranging from the image of an audience in a packed stadium frozen in time cheering for his performance, to a window on a rainy afternoon with the light of a nearby street lamp barely illuminating the unknown road ahead.
As stated in the title of the book, there is a certain strangeness to Summers’ photos alongside his personal essays. Both his photos and writing masterfully complement each other and enhance the enjoyment of this book. As a fan of The Police myself, I couldn’t help but be enthralled by the information that I was reading. It was fascinating to learn that Andy Summers was not only an impressive musician but a phenomenal photographer as well.