Carl Størmer, the Young 19th-Century Spy and Photographer


The name of Norwegian mathematician and physicist Carl Størmer would resonate more in the field of science than of art, but he did have the clever eye of a creative. At the age of 19, he's been spying around people on the streets with a hidden camera.

Today, the best of street photography is of the candid and the spontaneous. The fleeting and momentous. Such standard more and more becomes difficult to live up to as the street photography genre becomes one of the most excessively produced. But what makes the young Størmer and his secret photographic work to be amusing is how he approached the streets with the camera.

Størmer was a mathematics student at the Royal Frederick University (now the University of Oslo) when he did his 'spying'. He roamed the city of Oslo with a 'concealed vest camera'. In his own words, he described it:

The images showed the daily lives of people of the late 19th century, walking around, out and about, with most of the Norwegian gentlemen tipping their hats. More importantly, most of the spy shots Størmer took had people smiling and grinning (and we all know that people don't generally smile for photographs in early photography).

Størmer captured about 500 secretly shot photographs. By the age of 70, he showed this secret hobby of his for the first time in the world, through an exhibition in Oslo.

Lastly -- being known for the number theory and study on auroras, and now stealth photography? Størmer surely led quite a productive life!

Images are from Bored Panda.

written by lomographymagazine on 2018-01-14 #culture #vintage-photography #carl-stormer #spy-photography

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