‘kahana sunset equirectangular’, one of josh sommers’s equirectangular projections all images © josh sommers

the works of american artist josh sommers carve out their context somewhere along the boundaries of landscape photography, art, mathematics, and technology.

his recent equirectangular projection pieces overcome the limitations of human perception by representing detailed 3D panoramic images on a single plane.

josh sommers: equirectangular panoramas ‘kahana sunset stereographic’ renders the previous panoramic image in stereographic view

josh sommers: equirectangular panoramas ‘softball field’

equirectangular projection is a way of displaying a panoramic image by mapping its coordinates to equally spaced vertical and horizontal lines; effectively, the photograph could be wrapped around a sphere and remain entirely seamless.

the process requires considerable effort in the photography stage, as sommers uses a panoramic tripod head to capture and stitch together a set of images composing the entire 360° view. through imaging software, he maps the resulting panoramas to the two-dimensional canvas, sometimes following up the work with further digital manipulations.

josh sommers: equirectangular panoramas ‘basketball courts’

josh sommers: equirectangular panoramas ‘equirectangular tunnel’

josh sommers: equirectangular panoramas in ‘planet vallejo’, a stereographic projection of a panorama is blended into an ordinary photograph

constantly exploring the bounds of perception, sommers’s previous work includes a range of escher-esque photographs.

in one of his most widely known technical achievements, sommers spent months developing his own mathematical formulas in mathmap to create droste effect photographs, wherein an image is repeated in increasingly smaller variants. he publicly released the code and tutorials for its use, and software developer tom beddard brought sommers’s technique to a more general audience by packaging it into the pixelblender photoshop plugin.

josh sommers: equirectangular panoramas sommers’s rendering of escher’s ‘drawing hands’ is compiled from three photographs

josh sommers: equirectangular panoramas ‘don’t get drawn in’ is created from a single photograph, edited via four layers in photoshop

josh sommers: equirectangular panoramas ‘this book is confusing’ makes use of the droste effect

josh sommers: equirectangular panoramas ‘the international handshake’ represents the web-mediated collaboration of sommers and canadian artist david swart; the background blends the california coast with niagara falls