An Engineer’s Intriguing Kodachrome Photos Of Sweden in the 1940s

Fredrik Daniel Bruno (1882–1971) took pictures of Sweden during the war. His pictures evoke feelings of espionage and a hidden agenda

“Spying is waiting”
― John le Carré, The Russia House

 

Marketing at Hötorget (the Haymarket) in Stockholm City. To the left is the Stockholm Concert Hall, inaugurated in 1926.

Marketing at Hötorget (the Haymarket) in Stockholm City. To the left is the Stockholm Concert Hall, inaugurated in 1926. 1943

 

What we know of Fredrik Daniel Bruno (1882–1971) we learn via the Swedish National Hertiage Board. Born and raised in Hudiksvall in the province of Hälsingland, in the northern part of central Sweden, Bruno was an engineer and a “dedicated amateur photographer”. He traveled widely, taking colour photographs of Sweden in the 1940s and early 1950s. The pictures are shot with either expensive Kodachrome or Agfacolor diapositive film. Through his lens we see Swedish towns – buildings, harbours, squares, monuments, docks, markets and public parks – Göteborg (Gothenburg) on the west coast and Stockholm, the Swedish capital. But his images of people are what really grab you. There are crowd scenes, but people are often alone and isolated in the street, their backs the camera. Bruno seems to be watching them. Once you notice them, you get an itch that these individuals are his true field of study. The sightseeing is a ruse. There’s something of the secret agent about this engineer’s approach to photography. The pictures fizz with atmosphere. A stray thumb, a fame from the shadows, his positioning in the middle of the road or a high vantage point… We sense the photographer’s presence. The figure with the camera is watching. Do you see him? He sees you:

 

Stigbergskajen and Masthuggskajen quays in Gothenburg, by Göta River. View from the Maritime Museum.

Stigbergskajen and Masthuggskajen quays in Gothenburg, by Göta River. View from the Maritime Museum. 1944

Hötorget (The Haymarket ) in Stockholm City.

Hötorget (The Haymarket) in Stockholm City. 1942

Drottninggatan street, at the junction with Brunkebergsgatan street in Stockholm city.

Drottninggatan street, at the junction with Brunkebergsgatan street in Stockholm city. 1944

Järnvägsgatan (Railway street) in Karlstad and Hotel Drott to the left.

Järnvägsgatan (Railway street) in Karlstad and Hotel Drott to the left. 1943

People in the park of Trädgårdsföreningen, The Garden Society of Gothenburg.

People in the park of Trädgårdsföreningen, The Garden Society of Gothenburg. 1948

44Henriksberg Restaurant, also called the Lind House, at Stigbergsliden in Gothenburg.

Henriksberg Restaurant, also called the Lind House, at Stigbergsliden in Gothenburg. 1

Brunnsparken (The Baths Park) in Gothenburg, with the statue "The sowing woman" popularly called "Johanna in the Baths Park".

Brunnsparken (The Baths Park) in Gothenburg, with the statue “The sowing woman” popularly called “Johanna in the Baths Park”. 1944

People in Slottsskogen ("Castle Forest") in Gothenburg. The building is the Large Restaurant from 1906, more known as Björngårdsvillan (The Bear-Garden Villa).

People in Slottsskogen (“Castle Forest”) in Gothenburg. The building is the Large Restaurant from 1906, more known as Björngårdsvillan (The Bear-Garden Villa). 1948

Liseberg amusement park in Gothenburg, by night.

Liseberg amusement park in Gothenburg, by night. 1943

Svenska Mässan in Gothenburg - Swedish exhibition and congress centre.

Svenska Mässan in Gothenburg – Swedish exhibition and congress centre. 1948

Västra Götaland, Göteborg, Göteborg, Västergötland, Miljöer-Stadsmiljö

Västra Götaland, Göteborg, Göteborg, Västergötland, Miljöer-Stadsmiljö, Byggnadsverk-Religionsutövning – kyrkor-(01) Exteriörer

Geijersgatan street in Gothenburg. In the background is Vasa church.

Geijersgatan street in Gothenburg. In the background is Vasa church. 1948

University College of Gothenburg. (Today the University of Gothenburg).

University College of Gothenburg. (Today the University of Gothenburg). 1945

Värmland, Filipstad, Filipstad, Värmland, Miljöer-Stadsmiljö

Men at table at a house in or outside Eskilstuna. A conference?

Men at table at a house in or outside Eskilstuna. A conference? 1942

Men at a bus in Eskilstuna. A conference?

Men at a bus in Eskilstuna. A conference? 1942

Stora Brogatan street in Borås.

Stora Brogatan street in Borås. 1944

The Main Square in Alingsås.

The Main Square in Alingsås. 1948

Swimming pool in the old Swimming Baths of Borås.

Swimming pool in the old Swimming Baths of Borås. 1944

Building at 2, Norrtullsgatan street in the northern part of Stockholm city, built in 1925-1927 for Stockholm University. Today, the building is called the Student Palace and is used by the student unions of Stockholm.

Building at 2, Norrtullsgatan street in the northern part of Stockholm city, built in 1925-1927 for Stockholm University. Today, the building is called the Student Palace and is used by the student unions of Stockholm. 1944

The Stockholm City Hall, designed by architect Ragnar Östberg, inaugurated in 1923. Photo from the inner courtyard towards Riddarfjärden bay in lake Mälaren. The Nobel Prize banquet takes place in the Blue Hall at the Stockholm City Hall on December 10th every year.

The Stockholm City Hall, designed by architect Ragnar Östberg, inaugurated in 1923. Photo from the inner courtyard towards Riddarfjärden bay in lake Mälaren. The Nobel Prize banquet takes place in the Blue Hall at the Stockholm City Hall on December 10th every year. 1945

Stockholm by night. Kungsgatan street in Stockholm City, at the intersection with Sveavägen street.

Stockholm by night. Kungsgatan street in Stockholm City, at the intersection with Sveavägen street. 1940

People at Skansen open air museum at Djurgården in central Stockholm.

People at Skansen open air museum at Djurgården in central Stockholm. 1943

Västerlånggatan street in the Old Town in Stockholm.

Västerlånggatan street in the Old Town in Stockholm. 1944

Construction of a new bridge at Skanstull in the southern part of Stockholm city.

Construction of a new bridge at Skanstull in the southern part of Stockholm city. 1945

Crossing between Götgatan and Ringvägen streets at Skanstull in the southern part of Stockholm city. 1943

Crossing between Götgatan and Ringvägen streets at Skanstull in the southern part of Stockholm city. 1943

Aircraft at Bromma Airport near Stockholm City. The aeroplane in the foreground is a Douglas DC-4, the two in the background are Douglas DC-3's.

Aircraft at Bromma Airport near Stockholm City. The aeroplane in the foreground is a Douglas DC-4, the two in the background are Douglas DC-3’s. 1947

Kungsgatan street in Sollefteå.

Kungsgatan street in Sollefteå. 1944

Stockholm, Stockholm, Stockholm, Uppland, Miljöer-Stadsmiljö, Byggnadsverk-Kommunikationsväsen-Trafikanläggning

The High Street in Landskrona in Scania.

The High Street in Landskrona in Scania.1943

Kalmar, Nybro, Nybro, Småland, Miljöer-Stadsmiljö, Miljöer-Torgmiljö

Kalmar, Nybro, Nybro, Småland, Miljöer-Stadsmiljö

The Town Hall and the Grand Hotel at Tyska torget (the German Square) in Norrköping.

The Town Hall and the Grand Hotel at Tyska torget (the German Square) in Norrköping. 1947

The Main Square in Motala. In the background is Motala church.

The Main Square in Motala. In the background is Motala church. 1944

Dalarna, Mora, Mora, Dalarna, Miljöer-Stadsmiljö

Västra Götaland, Mölndal, Mölndal, Västergötland, Miljöer-Stadsmiljö

Men on a steamer, Lake Vättern, Småland, Sweden. 1945

Men on a steamer, Lake Vättern, Småland, Sweden. 1945

The harbour of Marstrand.

The harbour of Marstrand. 1948

The City Hotel in Karlstad, at 22, Kungsgatan street (King Street), and a producer gas driven car.

The City Hotel in Karlstad, at 22, Kungsgatan street (King Street), and a producer gas driven car. 1943

Värmland, Karlstad, Karlstad, Värmland, Miljöer-Stadsmiljö, Byggnadsverk-Rekreation och turism-Hotell

A woman walking in Västerlånggatan street.

A woman walking in Västerlånggatan street. 1945

Kalmar, Kalmar, Kalmar, Småland, Miljöer-Stadsmiljö

On the way to Norway. Gustaf, Carin, Lilly and a Volvo PV.

On the way to Norway. Gustaf, Carin, Lilly and a Volvo PV. 1948

The match factory.

The match factory. Jönköping, Småland, Sweden. 1945

Jönköping railway station.

Jönköping railway station. 1945

Jönköping, Jönköping, Jönköping, Småland, Miljöer-Stadsmiljö

Nybrogatan street in Härnösand.

Nybrogatan street in Härnösand. 1944

Funfair in Hudiksvall, the home town of Fredrik Bruno.

Funfair in Hudiksvall, the home town of Fredrik Bruno. 1942

Gävle Town Hall, built in 1784-1790.

Gävle Town Hall, built in 1784-1790. 1949

Ship M/S Stockholm of the Swedish American Line, moored at Stigbergskajen quay. The man to the left is Thore Bruno, related to the photographer Fredrik Bruno.

Ship M/S Stockholm of the Swedish American Line, moored at Stigbergskajen quay. The man to the left is Thore Bruno, related to the photographer Fredrik Bruno. 1948

Västerås Cathedral. 1948

Västerås Cathedral. 1948

A man and a woman, a pink parasol and Uppsala Cathedral. The image is taken from the garden of the Skytteanum building, partly viewed in the image.

A man and a woman, a pink parasol and Uppsala Cathedral. The image is taken from the garden of the Skytteanum building, partly viewed in the image.1943

Stockholm, Uppland, Miljöer-Stadsmiljö, Byggnadsverk-Kommunikationsväsen-Järnvägsanläggning

Stockholm, Stockholm, Stockholm, Uppland, Miljöer-Stadsmiljö, Övrigt-Arbetsliv

Stockholm, Uppland, Miljöer-Stadsmiljö – 1944

Via: Swedish Heritage Board