Like many 14 year-olds, Anthony Schmidt loves cars. Unlike most early teens, and probably adults for that matter, Anthony’s infatuation covers classic models spanning seven times as many years as he has been alive. Seemingly born with a picture-window view into automobile history, Anthony captures his visions in photographs that have mesmerized hundreds of thousands of admirers who follow him on social media.
There is a twist in the story—or two, actually. Newcomers to Anthony’s social media may first be surprised to learn that the cars in the photos are scale models. They may also be surprised to learn that this gifted young photographer was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder when he was seven years old.
Anthony lives in Woodinville, Washington, a suburb about 20 miles northeast of Seattle. He began taking photos of his model cars when he was six, his mother, Ramona Schmidt tells Hemmings. While just a boy having fun with an iPhone and his cars, he inadvertently taught himself the trick of forced-perspective photography.
Depending on camera positioning, a forced-perspective photograph can create the optical illusion of the subject being the same scale as its background, or of the subject being much larger or smaller. With his photos, mostly taken at outdoor locations, Anthony matches the scale of the backdrop to that of his model cars.
“He was amazed at how he could make them look full-sized,” Ramona says. “He’s a natural when it comes to his sense of scale and perspective.”
Intrigued and pleased by what he saw, Anthony kept at it. His skills progressed and, when he was nine, his mother shared some of his photos on social media. The strong reaction prompted her to start Instagram page, which she says quickly grew to 3,000 followers. It recently showed 46,000. Anthony’s TikTok has nearly 600,000 followers, and his Facebook page nearly 200,000. A private Facebook group created for his supporters two years ago, Friends of Anthony Schmidt Photography, has 140,000 members.