Giorgio Sommer (1834 - 1914)
Though usually regarded as an Italian photographer, Giorgio Sommer (1834-1914) was actually born in Frankfurt-am-Main in Germany. It is said that he took up photography as a profession after his father gambled away the family fortune in a single night. In the 1850s he worked successfully in Rome for several years, before settling in Naples, where he opened a commercial studio in 1857, becoming one the most highly regarded professional photographers in Italy. Over the next 50 years, he and his employees travelled through Italy, Malta, Tunisia, Switzerland and Austria, making thousands of views for the tourist trade. Sommer photographed the battlefields of Gaeta (1861) and the archaeological digs in Pompeii and Herculaneum several times between 1865 and 1885, but is perhaps best known for his series of photographs of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 1872.