Georg Sommer was born in Frankfurt am Main in 1834. After his father’s business went bankrupt he abandoned his career as a merchant and began to devote himself to photography. He travelled by way of Switzerland to Rome, where he worked successfully before opening a photo studio in Naples in 1857. There, as Giorgio Sommer, he became known for his photographic depictions of Italian tourist attractions. In addition to reproductions of artworks, these were pictures from Herculaneum and Pompeii, vedute, staged genre scenes, landscapes and especially pictures of Vesuvius eruptions. His prints are characterised by seemingly painterly, atmospheric gradations of lights and darks. He died in Naples in 1914.