Born in Liverpool in 1946, Jake Summerton originally took up photography whilst serving in the Navy in the 1960s and 70s. Once out of the service, he studied at Liverpool Community Art College, later studying video production at Wirral Metropolitan College.
Summerton was introduced to The La's by his son Andy, and over the course of two years he photographed the band in a multitude of gigs and shoots, developing a considerable archive.
In 1987, the band were set to record their seminal debut album ‘The La’s’, and so embarked on their first tour, launching them into the public limelight. Entirely self-funded and working between the darkroom and live shows, Jake documented the tour's incredible success, both on and off stage.
Due to personnel changes within the band's lineup, the pictures were never used and disaster struck when a rainstorm damaged the roof of Summerton's darkroom and the majority of the archive was lost. All that remained were the negatives from the fabled 1987 tour, which is what makes these images so special.
Summerton now lives a nomadic lifestyle, living and working on a narrow boat outside Liverpool.
In September 2017 RedHouse Originals Gallery and The Viper Label will present Summerton's collection of photographs documenting this fascinating and fertile period in the story of the band - The La's 1987.
The exhibition opens at The Florrie in Liverpool before touring the UK. Further details to be announced.
“There are around a hundred and fifty fans that will remember travelling to see the La’s at the Marquee gig in 1987. It was a small, under-lit venue, a bit like the Cavern.
That gig was a stunner, the small intimate stage, low lights, loud music, exotic smells, Lee’s voice, all fused together to make a gig branded into memory.
At that point, the band were so good, I just had to get it on film and not long after that gig I hooked up with The La’s at the house in London.
After a day at Go! Discs, the band set off on tour. The first gig was the North East London Poly, next the Limelight, and after that the band headed north.
We toured, and I photographed and roadied all the way back to Liverpool, bouncing along in the back of a ford transit, a bit sore, but what a buzz; every night another amazing live set from the band. Then we would reload the transit, find some fast food and head further north.
That was the ‘87 tour, these are the images. Enjoy.”
Jake Summerton, September 2017
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