The Hidden Camera from the 1890s – Ooh! Interesting Fascinating Facts

March 02, 2018

We can’t get enough of event photos. We love them. They are a superb way to live vicariously through numerous lucky guests at dinner parties and award ceremonies across the capital (to name just a few). Generally an event photographer roams with their camera throughout the evening, snapping photos for posterity. But what if they had a hidden camera instead? Would the photos captured change how we see the event? We aren’t sure but it’d certainly be interesting. This week’s fact blog focuses on hidden camera photos from the 1890s. Come along and enjoy!

First a bit of backstory; what on earth is going on here – a hidden camera in the 1890s? Yup! Carl Størmer enjoyed the unusual hobby (at the time) of taking photos. Wanting to capture people on the streets in a natural manner, he created a spy camera and secretly took photos of the everyday events around Oslo, Norway.

For those with a love of either physics or the theatre, you’ll be delighted to know that two famous faces appear in these photos. The man with round glasses and a moustache is Kristian Birkeland, a man who now features on Norwegian currency and was the first person to accurately explain the phenomenon of the northern lights. Meanwhile, the man in a top hat with extensive facial hair is none other than Henrik Ibsen, celebrated writer of plays including Hedda Gabler, Ghosts and A Doll’s House, and widely regarded to be the most important playwright since Shakespeare.

The phrase, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ is perhaps more true than ever with this blog, so we hope you enjoy the photos below uninterrupted by our witterings. What we will say though is that it’s fascinating to see the juxtaposition between the strict poses that we ordinarily see in photos from the time and the relaxed nature of the Norwegians photographed in these photos.

              To see more photos from this collection, please click here



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By Henry Fosdike