Stephen Somerstein has been shaped by the complexity and richness of the urban-cultural landscape. His early photographic influences came from the great social-documentarians, Jacob Riis, Erich Salomon and the elegantly crafted images from the Farm Security Administration team. He has concentrated on documentary photography and pursued his avocation for well over forty-five years.
Commencing his focused work in the 1960s, Steve followed the dual paths of pursuing his love of photography and science. While obtaining a degree in physics, he also covered New York's Greenwich Village cultural scene, with forays out to the divided Germany to photograph the effects of the Berlin Wall and to the west coast for the Vietnam anti-war movement in Berkeley.
In1965, with the rise in public consciousness of the importance of the civil rights movement and Dr. King's pursuit of equal opportunity and voting rights, Steve, as Editor-in-Chief and Picture Editor of the City College of New York newspaper, journeyed to Alabama to cover the Selma-to-Montgomery civil rights march. His first commercial sale was to the New York Times Magazine, which gave a two-page spread to his Joan Baez portrait.
During his science career he has built space satellites at the Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, as well as Lockheed Martin. His last instrument will be on the soon to be launched James Webb Space Telescope. Recently retired from his science career, he has happily returned full-time to photography.