I'm a Getty Images Artist

I am a professional Photo Illustrator, Photographer, Graphic Designer and Software Developer- some of which can largely be attributed to my involvement with flickr. My presence on flickr has helped many potential clients find me and subsequently hire me or purchase prints or licenses to use my work for branding, editorial and advertising campaigns.

Time willing, I am happy to share and teach others the techniques I use, so if you are interested in how to do something, please feel free to send me a flickr mail. These days I am very busy, but if nothing else I can at least give you a point in the right direction!

Please Note: All of my images are copyright, all rights reserved. If you would like to use my image for any commercial or editorial purpose you will need to purchase a license to use the image directly from me, or in some cases, through Getty Images.

Bloggers, and Educational or Non Commercial Use is permitted. Just let me know which images you would like to use and how you would like to use them first.

Outside of photography, I am also a musician, a classically trained vocalist and pianist, amateur song writer and I also play guitar, ukulele, a little banjo, a little accordian and a little accoustic bass. I am always interested in picking up a new instrument and trying to learn enough to learn or write at least one song.

You can hear some of my music online at MySpace or www.tracksinthesky.com

My Day Job: Interbill

Auto Biography
Several times in the past few years I have been asked to write a short autobiography with regards to my history as an artist. It's a fun exercise, and having completed one, I decided why not post it here?

I was born in Santa Rosa, CA in December, 1978. My parents met at the school of expressive arts at Sonoma State University where they were both completing their BA in Liberal Arts. My father was majoring in art history and my mother was majoring in dance. Both of them were very artistic in all ways, not strictly limited to the area that they studied, so for my whole childhood I was surrounded by a great deal of creative energy. My mother later became a teacher, but she is a very talented seamstress and just generally talented with crafts and cooking (which i would consider an art as well). My father was forced to work odd jobs in construction and such until 1988 when he landed a job at Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) as a Model Maker. As the digital revolution began he moved into the CG department and eventually climbed the ranks until he was a texture mapper (View Painter) for Lucas Digital from about 1994 until 2006 when he semi-retired and began teaching his craft at the university level.

In grade school I would often get in trouble for being artistic. I can recall two specific incidents where this happened. In second grade we were asked to draw a self portrait. For my self portrait I drew myself as a young man with stubble and an earring and spiked hair. Seemed to be creative to me and to my parents, but apparently not to the teacher who called a parent teacher meeting because of it and claimed that the act was not creative, but rather a failure to follow directions. The next year a similar incident occured where we were asked to create a picture of an animal using scraps of wall paper. I created a picture of a parrot, but the tail feathers fell well off the bottom edge of the paper. Again, a parent teacher meeting was called because I was not following directions- I was not "staying within the lines" so to speak. In both cases my parents faught the teacher and praised my work. They taught me never to question my creativity and assured me that what I had done was not wrong.

In 4th grade I started taking Piano Lessons and continued until I graduated Highschool.

Throughout my childhood and teen years I was into various types of art; sometimes drawing with colored pencils, sculpting with clay, creating 3 dimensional comic book cards, etc.

In Junior High, my family got our first computer, a Macintosh LC2. At the same time I had broken my thumb in PE, and my woodshop teacher was in the process of building the school's first computer lab. Somehow he enlisted my help in building the lab. This is about the time that I started to get interested in creating artwork using a computer. I convinced the woodshop teacher to purchase a program called Super Paint for the mac, which was similar to early versions of Photoshop. Soon thereafter I convinced him to purchase photoshop 2.0 and kai's power tools. Thus began my lifelong relationship with Photoshop.

By highschool my creative energy took a turn and I joined the choir. For the 4 years of highschool my number one creative outlet was performing. Within the first year of choir I had climbed the "ranks" to become a soloist. Then I started taking professional vocal lessons, where I was classically trained. I began competing in local and regional vocal competitions, although I never won any. Soon after I began to audition for lead parts in the school productions. My first lead role was that of Lt. Cable in South Pacific, followed by Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar, and Joseph in a Junior College production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat during my senior year. Throughout highschool however I maintained a personal interest in computer graphics which spread to include graphic design (like logos) and 3D modeling, and I never lost touch with my old pal Photoshop.

After highschool I decided to persue a career in software engineering because I did not want to become another starving artist. Had I followed my dreams I would have gone to school for a theatre or music major, but I was forward thinking and I knew that I had expensive tastes and expensive hobbies and I wanted a career that would afford me those things. Plus, I won a full tuition scholarship to DeVry university in Southern California and it's pretty hard to say no to that kind of scratch. My goal at the time was to become a video game designer. I had created, on paper a game that I called Breakstuff Ltd. which was essentially very much like what later was released as "Grand Theft Auto". By this I don't mean I had any hand in GTA, but rather that the idea I had in 1997 was almost exactly the same conceptually.

However, in college I learned that the kind of programmer I would need to become in order to program games was not something I had in me. Instead I just focused on learning the essentials of programming so that I could score a job in a more generalized software development industry. As with Highschool, my Photoshop work did not cease throughout college, but it did take a back seat to my studies which consumed most of my time for 4 years. At the same time however I continued to persue my musical interests as well and I played in a number of bands and started learning how to write my own music and eventually began to learn how to record it as well.

After graduation I worked for several semesters as a teacher at Expression Center for New Media, a graphic and performing arts college in Berkeley, CA. I taught Advanced Web Design and Javascript. The commute was long and teaching sucks, so I kept looking for work closer to home. Eventually I landed a job as a software engineer at a small company near my hometown called Interbill. I still currently work at Interbill as the Creative Director and Lead Software Developer.

About a year or two after graduation I formed a band called MiddleDigit. Together we wrote and recorded two full length studio albums over the course of two years. As things often go in the music industry the band kind of fell apart- the first drummer joined a heavy metal band, the second drummer moved to hollywood to attend the Percussion Insitute, the bass player moved away to attend Berkeley School of Music and that left me and the guitar player, so we just decided to call it quits. The first album can be found online at www.tracksinthesky.com, in a very early and rough form. We did later re-record the whole thing, but never got around to putting it online.

Right about that time, July 2005 my fiance and I got married and went to Maui on our honeymoon. Just before we left I purchased a digital camera, an advanced point and shoot (Fuji s602Z). In Maui I took several thousand photos, mostly of amazing sunsets. During one sunset, it occurred to me that I should try to create a multi-shot panorama. I did just that, and found software to stitch it together called Panorama Factory. We only had a few more days left in Maui at that point, but after that I started shooting many more panoramas.

When we got back from Hawaii, I really wanted to have some of the panoramas printed and framed. I had a few printed in large format, about 6 feet wide and one foot tall. Then I went to have them framed and found that it was going to cost me $350 to frame just one of them. That was when I decided that I should learn how to build my own picture frames. So over the course of the next year I purchased all of the equipment I needed and learned how to mount, mat and frame out of the studio that I built in my garage. The whole idea was that I would frame my panoramas and sell them, which is exactly what I did.

But eventually I got bored with that and at the same time, one of my friends purchased a Canon Digital Rebel XT. Out of jealousy, I decided it was time for me to get a dSLR too. Just my luck, i decided to start looking the same week that the XTi was released, and so the XTi is what I decided to purchase. That was around November 2006 I think. A few weeks later I joined flickr and started posting my work, which at the time was mostly just panoramas and sunsets, and new photos I was taking with the XTi, but not a lot of art.

On flickr I saw the work of many talented photographers and artists, and something clicked inside. Suddenly I made the connection between my photography and my lifelong experience with Photoshop. All of the work I had done in Photoshop up to that point had been OK, but I never really felt very proud of it. To me it was all just digital doodling, and I never felt that I was truly expressing myself in any way. But that all changed in an instant. With the vast amount of inspiration I found on flickr my creativity just exploded. The result of that explosion is represented by the complete contents of my flickr stream, all of which has been created since I purchased the Digital Rebel. Many of the techniques seen in my stream are techniques that I have acquired within that same period- namely equirectangular panoramas, sterographic projections and the droste effect.

I believe that as artists we all have a certain pool of creative energy that we draw from. For me, I have found that it does not matter what I do with that energy- whether it is drawing, painting, building picture frames, writing music, taking photos, designing corporate branding, writing software, designing logos or creating digital composites- it all comes from the same place- and it doesn't matter how I use it, it only matters that I do use it. In my life there have been periods where I was not creative, and in hind sight, those were some of the toughest times in my life. Now I know that I cannot be happy in life unless I am being creative, and so that is why I am an artist.

Josh Sommers Art
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Testimonials (26)

  • view profile

    UMPCOLLECTIVE says:

    "Hello! nice 2 meet u"

    20th January, 2011

  • view profile

    Giuseppe Parisi says:

    "Josh Sommers is one of the most amazing and creative artists I know here on Flickr.
    I consider him a whole artist because his skills have sturdy roots in photography and bloom fruitfully in the manipulation and painting fields.
    Josh is not only a great artist but also a wonderfully generous man who helped me to artistically grow up.
    Thank you my dear friend.

    Giu"

    25th September, 2009

  • view profile

    Sadarrab says:

    "You go through Josh's photostream and you'll never come back."

    14th May, 2009

  • view profile

    lrargerich says:

    "Josh is a hell of a photographer, he achieves impact from anything that crosses his lens. The compositions and ideas are usually bright. Each photo is usually a mini workshop where other fellow photographers can learn something new. A master."

    18th March, 2009

  • view profile

    The Wedding Traveler says:

    "Su creatividad, pasión y arte no tiene fronteras; y su lenguaje visual no solo nos inspira sino que nos invita a participar del arte de crear.
    Gracias Josh"

    4th March, 2009

  • view profile

    Sem.Q 'deleted' says:

    "Josh Sommers

    Wow !!

    he is the best photographer and from my fav,hes stream full of creative and clever ideas ,hes photos marvellous and cool ,and really hes work inspire me ,he is a professional photographer and also in photoshop he is pro , i love hes photos edit ,it is always great and i cant describe how amazing he is :) , simply i wish for u all the best in your life :) ...!

    KEEP up spirit !!

    god bless u :) ..

    ur freind

    sem*"

    24th April, 2009

  • view profile

    AlphaLexman says:

    "Your work is very inspiring, I am heavy into fractals and mathematical art and your ideas have pushed me to a new level. btw I love the Echner recreations - they're brilliant!"

    2nd January, 2009

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    Jeff Blazer says:

    "Josh's work borders a fine line between inspiration and gut-wrenching jealousy. His Photostream exemplifies a masterful edge in a broad range of styles and techniques. Whether capturing nature in all its splendor or confounding our senses with his grand illusions, his work is proof that true talent transcends the limitations of software and equipment. Warning: viewing Josh's portfolio may cause one to destroy their camera."

    7th January, 2009

  • view profile

    Cpt<HUN> says:

    "My testimonial about Josh consist 2 words: I am amazed. After overlooking his magical portfolio, I am sure I found one of the best visual fantasy minded photographer, from whom is a honor to learn. Or just flying away with the absurd or beaty in the shots - keep on, thank you for uploading and the enjoyment!"

    20th September, 2008

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    andrew71ca says:

    "Always interesting and always creative, Josh is a true artist and one of flickr's best."

    31st October, 2008

  • view profile

    Thomas Johnson Photography says:

    "Josh creates work that is unbelievable. His photos are so visually amazing that words cannot even describe them. He is a very talented photographer with many great works of art. If you haven't seen his work you are missing out on a lot. Keep up the amazing work Josh."

    27th July, 2008

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    luketelliott says:

    "Josh is an amazing artist and a great person
    On a day today to basis he achieves things in his work, that many people spend their entire life aspiring too.
    He can throw his hand at almost any art form and produce results like his been doing it for years.
    Josh and his work is an inspiration to me and many others.
    No ones photo stream captivates me more"

    19th May, 2008

  • view profile

    Akram Photo says:

    "You are one in a billion.
    that's what i can write for you."

    16th May, 2008

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    Jun Moore's flickr says:

    "Josh's work has inspired me greatly. He opened my vision for a wider virtual world where anything is possible. He is one of the best photoshop users I've seen here - in terms of both ideology and technique. Thanks for sharing your works with us!"

    24th February, 2008

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    mightycud says:

    "Josh has some of the best work I've seen flickr, nay, EVER. His understanding of photoshop goes far beyond what most artists deem possible making his work truly stand out against the rest. It is my hope that one day I have just a fraction of his talent."

    13th February, 2008

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    James Neeley says:

    "Truely a photographic artist, it is always a pleasure and inspiration to view Josh's (Pisco Bandito) sensational work. From landscapes and traditional photography to Droste, Wee Planets, and other mathematical compositions, creativity abounds in this stream. Thanks Josh for sharing your fantastic works of art."

    13th September, 2007

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    SomethingDiabolical says:

    "i don't want to write the same stuff everybody else did but all has been said. so i just can say that he is an awesome artist and very inspiring."

    11th September, 2007

  • view profile

    PhotoMasterGreg says:

    "Josh Rocks! Every time I see he has posted something new, I have to check it out. His work is always fresh and inventive. Josh has helped me and taught me a great deal. He is a true inspiration to me and an artist in every sense of the word. It's an honor to be on his friends list.
    Greg"

    21st August, 2007

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    dmswart says:

    "Here is, simply put one of the most prolific, creative, and eye-catching photostreams on flickr.

    Besides his talent - what makes Josh exceptional is his patience to give credit, explain his techniques and methods, and generally "share the wealth"."

    16th August, 2007

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    Shahran Ali says:

    "such an inspiring artist. thanks for sharing ur art!"

    31st July, 2007

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    SaMóOðCh @AhmadElJanahi says:

    "Ur a great photographer
    talented and smart
    wish u all luck :D

    SaMoOoCh"

    25th July, 2007

  • view profile

    Etc.Ja.An says:

    "Wow! Im impressed by your unique , imaginative and stunning creations. Something esp for the eye... Tnx for sharing !"

    30th May, 2007

  • view profile

    Martin Playing With Pixels & Words says:

    "perhaps the most accomplished person on flickr
    certainly one of the most inventive minds..."

    17th May, 2007

  • view profile

    Patrick Hoff says:

    "Ever since I joined Flickr, Josh's incredible art-pieces -what else can you call them- caught my eye and I have been a huge admirer ever since. Constantly trying to improve, he has shared some of of the best work with us I've ever seen, including his amazing Escher pieces. Next to that, most of my favorite subjects and visual effects in photography are tough to me by him.
    Although I never met Josh in person, he really seems incredibly talented in everything he does, and a very kind and generous man indeed."

    9th April, 2007

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    tsevis says:

    "It's difficult to express with words Pisco's contribution, but I ll try:
    First his images: Pisco's photos, artworks, experiments and visuals are a sentimental and deep look to nature, society and humanity.
    He's talking about beauty, feelings, situations, logic, reality in a so interesting and unique way.
    Then his techniques:
    He is exploring any possible way to improve any idea he has. He is building ideas, image after image, pixel after pixel, constructing an endless artistic language.
    Seems that he is never satisfied with the images he produces, even if these works for us seem perfect.
    And last but of course not least his attitude:
    Pisco seems to me, who never had the honour to meet him offline, that he is feeling so safe of him self, his work and his artistic powers. He loves his images and techniques, but the same feelings is sharing with all of us and our creativity. That's why Pisco is helping. He is giving and sharing. He is in a contiues dialogue with all Flickr community and not just with his ego.
    And I am sure he feels very pleased and honoured when he is seeing that he teaches us all with his work, comments, tutorials, codes and anything.

    Surely one of the best Flickr users I ever met online."

    21st February, 2007

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    the awful din says:

    "I've known for years that Josh is a great photographer and an amazing visual/graphic artist. His Flickr page really shows it. What I hadn't realized before, is what a good model he is too. He sets up a scene and really acts it. His body language and facial expressions bring you right in and make the photo come alive."

    12th December, 2006

Name:
Josh Sommers
Joined:
November 2006
Hometown:
Petaluma, CA
Currently:
Petaluma, CA, USA
I am:
Male and Taken
Occupation:
Software Engineer
Website:
Tracks In The Sky