The Fascinating View from a 19th Century Spy Camera

A student mathematician/physicist may not fit the bill of your standard stealth photographer. However, just before the dawn of the 1900s, Carl Stormer did just that. Using what appears to be a stopwatch turned camera, the teenager became one of the very first individuals to capture truly candid photographs on the streets of Oslo:

19-Year-Old Norwegian Student Hides Spy Camera In His Clothing To Take Secret Street Photos In The 1890s

Unaware of the camera’s presence, men, women, children, and animals crossed paths with Stormer’s lens. In stark contrast to the austere portraits popular of the era, these images offer a rare glimpse at what daily life once was.

While Størmer focused much of his time and effort toward the sciences, he never lost his love for photography. About 50 years after the first spy images were made, he exhibited his lifelong collection of candids. Today his legacy lives on, with his photographs acting as a fascinating milestone in the history of street photography.

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