arl Størmer was a Norwegian mathematician and physicist from the 19th century who accomplished all kinds of super impressive stuff throughout his life.
For example, when he was only 18 years old, he published his first mathematical paper on trigonometric series generalizing the Taylor expansion of the arcsine function. (No, we have no idea what that means. We got it from his Wikipedia page. But it sounds pretty impressive, right?)
However, it wasn't all math and science for ol' Carl. He was also super interested in photography. In fact, it's thanks to him that we have some of the most captivating photographs of life in the late 19th century.
At the age of 19, Størmer created a small camera that could be hidden inside his clothes.
It’s this brand of ingenuity that makes you scratch your head and mutter, “this kid is going places.”
Størmer then took his camera/clothing contraption outside into 19th-century Norway.
The result is an incredible collection of candid photographs.
It was there that he was able to capture photographs of everyday life in Norway during the 1890s.
You won’t see any cars in the photographs; just a good old-fashioned carriage.
The photos also provide a fascinating glimpse of Norwegian architecture as it was in the 1890s.
Amazingly, many of the buildings photographed by Størmer still look very similar today.
It’s especially amazing to see people smiling in Størmers photos. In most of the photos we see of people from this time period, they’re looking particularly solemn. But these photos show some incredible smiles!
Many people assume the glum looks of most Victorian portraiture is because the technology of the time required people to sit still for a long time in order to capture the image.
In reality, people usually just looked solemn because they didn’t often have their picture taken, so when they did, it was treated as a solemn occasion. It might surprise you to know that photography became pretty much instantaneous in the 1850s (well before Størmer took these images).
Størmer even managed to capture some photos of famous people! Check them out…