Carl Størmer (1872-1957) enjoyed a hobby that was very, very unusual at the time. He walked around Oslo, Norway in the 1890s with his spy camera and secretly took everyday pictures of people. The subjects in Størmer's pictures appear in their natural state. These street photography shots extremely differ from the grave and strict posing trends that dominated photography during those years.

Carl got his C.P. Stirn Concealed Vest spy camera in 1893 when he was studying mathematics at the Royal Frederick University (now, University of Oslo). "It was a round flat canister hidden under the vest with the lens sticking out through a buttonhole," he told St. Hallvard Journal in 1942. "Under my clothes, I had a string down through a hole in my trouser pocket, and when I pulled the string the secret camera took a photo."

Norway's first paparazzi usually photographed people at the exact time they were greeting him on the street. "I strolled down Carl Johan, found me a victim, greeted, got a gentle smile, and pulled. Six images at a time and then I went home to switch [the] plate." In total, Størmer took a total of about 500 of these black and white photos.

His interesting photos aside, Størmer was also fascinated with science. He was a mathematician and physicist, known both for his work in number theory and studying the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis).

Now scroll down below and check these secret vintage photos of Norway's past for yourself!

spy-camera-secret-street-photography-carl-stormer-norway-159

#1

Street Photography

Carl Størmer Report

Cesi Baca
Community Member
2 years ago

The cat knows the guy is hiding something lol. Cats defintely have a 6th sense.

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#2

Street Photography

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Agnes Jekyll
Community Member
2 years ago

Wow!!! Those clothes are amazing!!! How stylish they are.

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#3

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Aaaa Bbbb
Community Member
2 years ago

It's Maisie Williams! Time traveler or immortal being?

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#4

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Tim Chamberlin
Community Member
2 years ago

no litter on any of the streets in any of these photos!

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#5

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Dara
Community Member
2 years ago

I loved his smile :D

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#6

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Bent Sorensen
Community Member
2 years ago

This is physics professor Kristian Birkeland - the only one of Størmer's subjects to rumble him. Apparently he got quite cross!

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#7

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DeadStillPretty
Community Member
2 years ago

I love the hats on these women. Holy crap, they're enormous. Replace the background with a promenade deck or something it's like a scene out of Titanic.

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#8

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Greg Dill
Community Member
2 years ago

Girl holding a Pygmy Puff.

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#9

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christina murray
Community Member
2 years ago

i love this one, i like to think he can see the camera and is tipping his hat to the guy

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#10

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Agnes Jekyll
Community Member
2 years ago

love the sleeves!

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#11

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Agnes Jekyll
Community Member
2 years ago

I think she was in an earlier photo

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#12

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Marnee DeRider
Community Member
2 years ago

The cats haven't changed one bit.

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#13

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Bent Sorensen
Community Member
2 years ago

It may be Frognerseteren, above Holmenkollen...

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#14

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Barb Dailey
Community Member
2 years ago

This is lovely.

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#15

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Bobbi Newell
Community Member
2 years ago

*girl on the left* "Oh, hello!" *girl on the right* "He's cute!"

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#16

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Agnes Jekyll
Community Member
2 years ago

Wow!! What a striking figure she cuts. Would love to have a closer look at what she is holding--is it a purse?

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#17

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Elise McFarland
Community Member
2 years ago

Wearing bunad!

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#18

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Greg Dill
Community Member
2 years ago

Teddy's Norwegian cousin.

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#19

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SarahofBorg
Community Member
2 years ago

I could see this being a modern day hipster.

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#20

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DeadStillPretty
Community Member
2 years ago

Ruffles, ruffles everywhere and not a potato chip to eat.

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#21

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Marnee DeRider
Community Member
2 years ago

Why don't we use parasols for shade anymore? I grew up in Minnesota near a large community of Hmong. The older women (and sometimes men) would often carry umbrellas in the summer to keep the sun off. I envied them, because I was a teenager and wouldn't have dared because it wasn't "done". (Nobody even used them in the rain at the time because humans are silly at times.)

Daria B
Community Member
2 years ago

In Korea, they use parasols like the most normal thing. But only girls and women, I noticed.

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Agnes Randers-Pehrson
Community Member
2 years ago

This is not only interesting, but quite amazing! It is my grandmother for sure!! I even think she is wearing the brooch (sølje) that I, along with her Hardanger-costume (bunad) inherited...I have several photos of her, approximately at that age. Wow! I`ll look at the other photos and see if I can detect some of the garments that she wears on this photo...🌟

Bonnie Britz
Community Member
8 months ago

I did it this past summer on a particularly sunny day in Vermont. I have antique parasols that I use when reenacting, and I thought, "Why shouldn't I be using one now? It makes sense." That's all it took for me to fish a small, modern umbrella from my trunk and use it. I got admiring nods and compliments from folks who wished they had had an umbrella, too.

Taylor Rice
Community Member
2 years ago

I use a parasol always! I'm never without it.

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#22

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Diana Cooper
Community Member
2 years ago

Good Scandinavian diet. Few processed foods, not a lot of fat and no junk food!

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#23

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Gillian Black
Community Member
2 years ago

still a great photo

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#24

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petil Pling
Community Member
2 years ago

That really looks like Henrik Ibsen! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henrik_Ibsen

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#25

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The Cappy
Community Member
2 years ago

Before the invention of casual clothes.

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#26

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Richard Trombly
Community Member
2 years ago

cause they were all trussed up like a Christmas goose

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#27

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Jilibi
Community Member
2 years ago

He is like, please hand me the camera or promise me that you will not post this on facebook.

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#28

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Debbie Andersson
Community Member
2 years ago

The whole city looks so pretty, why aren´t we today, with our machines, building this pretty buildings anymore? Would be way easier today then it was then.

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#29

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Greg Dill
Community Member
2 years ago

Olga, Lida, and ThunderCrotch.

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#30

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Priscilla Winslow
Community Member
2 years ago

There's life on Mars!

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#31

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Wendy Kovin
Community Member
2 years ago

All of the people in these photos are attractive. Is it the clothes?

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#32

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Mary DeLashmit
Community Member
2 years ago

Once again, the cat lady!

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#33

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Greg Dill
Community Member
2 years ago

Notice the sea turtle emerging from the sidewalk?

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#34

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Greg Dill
Community Member
2 years ago

"Good Godin, Danika! This man is following us with his GoPro on."

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#35

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Jilibi
Community Member
2 years ago

Look justin beiber is here, forget him! I am watching ufo landing.

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#36

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Robin Collins
Community Member
2 years ago

Lena, I'm still not sure this is best way to escape the police..... Shut up Ollie and sway your hips more.

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#37

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Reza Mobasseri
Community Member
2 years ago

Is that a suit jacket over a dress in the background?!

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#38

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Bethany Lambert
Community Member
2 years ago

there is a woman in the center

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#39

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Marnee DeRider
Community Member
2 years ago

Anyone else notice how generally slim they all are?

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#40

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Pam Falcioni
Community Member
2 years ago

I can't even imagine what a hassle it would have been to deal with a hat like that on a windy day.

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#41

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Tamara Laney
Community Member
2 years ago

"I thought you said your dog doesn't bite?!!" "Yes, but that's not my dog." <---one of my favorite Inspector Clouseau (Pink Panther) jokes.

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#42

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Greg Dill
Community Member
2 years ago

Where the Parker Bros got their idea for Sorry! game pieces.

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#43

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Jilibi
Community Member
2 years ago

Wanna see and record a hat trick. I bet it will be trending one day on youtube.

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#44

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Barb Dailey
Community Member
2 years ago

Someone lose their hat on the ground?

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#45

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GalaxyInAJar
Community Member
2 years ago

She's so done with your "no one can see the camera" charade

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#46

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Reza Mobasseri
Community Member
2 years ago

Is that Jorne Van Fickelpikel?!

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#47

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Greg Dill
Community Member
2 years ago

A policeman walking his invisible K-9 unit.

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#48

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Pam Falcioni
Community Member
2 years ago

Those hats are crazy!

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#49

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Karina Edwards
Community Member
2 years ago

"And stay off my lawn you pesky kids!"

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#50

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Margus Kiis
Community Member
2 years ago

Ibsen.

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#51

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Karina Edwards
Community Member
2 years ago

People must have had buff arms in those days from all the hat tipping

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#52

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Marnee DeRider
Community Member
2 years ago

I always pictured that most Norwegians were blond, but from these pictures, they look like most have brown hair. Might be it's just hard to tell in the b/w photos. Or, more likely, it's one more stereotype I need to delete from my files.

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#53

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Greg Dill
Community Member
2 years ago

Baby Vin Diesel.

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#54

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Margus Kiis
Community Member
2 years ago

Posing!

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#55

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Lars Thulin
Community Member
2 years ago

Oh dear, yet another time traveller with a cell phone caught on camera.

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#56

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Eric
Community Member
2 years ago

Richard Simmons when he was a wee lad.

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#57

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Robin Collins
Community Member
2 years ago

I wonder if he likes older women.

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#58

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M.J. J.
Community Member
2 years ago

It'd be very rude not to greet people on the sidewalks back then...

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#59

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Karina Edwards
Community Member
2 years ago

Octopus attack hat

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#60

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M.J. J.
Community Member
2 years ago

No cones, flashing lights etc.,to warn pedestrians of ladders on sidewalks!

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#61

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Greg Dill
Community Member
2 years ago

Actor David Schwimmer's distant Norwegian great-great grandfather.

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#62

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Ged Maybury
Community Member
2 years ago

Partial double exposure. The cranking mechanism glitched out. Still: extraordinarily good photos for their time!

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#63

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Margus Kiis
Community Member
2 years ago

Ibsen again.

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#64

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Harvey Johnson
Community Member
2 years ago

Apparently they didn't have spur of the moment quickies in those days. Too many clothes

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#65

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Ged Maybury
Community Member
2 years ago

Girl-Scouts? The hats, especially. Very practical cloth