It’s National Photography Day, and here’s a remarkable photographic story from the 1890s: a guy in Norway made his own candid camera.
This is the story of Carl Størmer, who would go on to be an acclaimed professor of physics and mathematics.
Back in the late 19th century, he was a student at the Royal Frederick University, known today as the University of Oslo.
And he was an amateur photographer.
But rather than take formal, posed pictures as so many camerapeople did in those days, Størmer decided to take a different approach.
He bought something called the C.P. Stirn Concealed Vest camera.
The photographer wore the small round metal device under a shirt, vest or jacket; only the lens stuck out, usually through a buttonhole.
Størmer said he could trigger his camera with a string that led to his pocket.
And in most cases, he took his pictures right as he exchanged greetings with people he encountered on the street.
He could only take six before having to replace the plate inside the camera, but he ended up with hundreds of images.
At a time when a lot of photos show very serious and formally dressed people, here are people smiling.
They’re out for strolls, they’re holding their pet cats or playing with their dogs, they’re out doing a lot of the same stuff people do today.
So these surreptitious photos ended up serving as an interesting peek into the daily lives of people of the time.
Today in 1935, the birthday of Story Musgrave, who would become the only astronaut to serve on missions on all five space shuttles.
By the way, Musgrave’s missions included repairs to both Skylab and the Hubble Space Telescope.
Veteran Astronaut Story Musgrave (Smithsonian)