Carl Størmer and his Detective Camera

Carl Størmer (1872-1957) is one of Norway's pioneer photographers. He is known as an astronomer and mathematician. In history books Størmer is referred to as "The Northern Lights photographer”: he will go down in history as the first person to construct a camera that could capture the Northern Lights.

But it is another of his photographic endeavors that is the basis for this film: The young student Carl Størmer walked around in Christiania (Oslo) from 1893 to 1896 with his detective camera and took everyday pictures of people. In these images we see people in their natural state. It differs very much from the grave and strict posing attitudes that characterize the photos from that time. Størmer’s images capture situations, meetings, reactions and looks. They give a close-up of a world that is long gone.

Carl Størmer and his detective camera is a poetic documentary. The personal commentary accompanying the images is reflective: why did Stormer do this? What passion and energy stimulated him? Moreover, the documentary teaches us about city life, the development of the modern Christiania at the end of the 1800s and about the people who walked there. The cinematic photography in the movie makes the city and its people seemingly to come alive again. This makes for an estranged experience: a person from the audience described seein the movie as akin to “suddenly finding himself behind one of Edvard Munch’s paintings”

Screened at festivals in Norway and abroad, including Montreal, Canada and Melbourne, Australia among others. It has also been invited to art film collections of movies online.