Hard Craft

16-Year-Old Photographer Anthony Schmidt Continues to Amaze

by Jeff Peek
3 May 2024 3 min read
16-Year-Old Photographer Anthony Schmidt Continues to Amaze
Photos: anthonyschmidtphotography.com

Much has changed since we first learnt about the amazing Anthony Schmidt in 2020. He is older now, of course, all of 16. He treasures his driver’s licence, owns two classic cars, slicks back his dark hair, enjoys wearing leather jackets and sunglasses, and has seen his fame rise right along with his height. Anthony is no longer just a local celebrity in and around his hometown of Woodinville, Washington; he now has nearly 750,000 followers on Facebook, and 250,000 on Instagram.

The teenager never asked for any of this, but when you have an obsession that runs deep and reveals talent that few others possess, it’s difficult to avoid the limelight. Anthony has autism, a developmental disorder that, in his case, makes him hyper-focused on what interests him. And what interests him most are cars and photography. He’s skillfully meshed the two passions through his use of forced perspective photography, a technique that turns Anthony’s extensive collection of die-cast miniature cars into images that appear real.

The secret behind his realistic optical illusions?

“It’s because of his autism that he’s able to do this,” his mother, Ramona Schmidt, told People magazine. “His visual perception is off the charts whenever it’s tested. People with autism are visual thinkers and very detailed people. It’s an advantage for him. And the photography is such a good boost for his self-esteem.”

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Ramona Schmidt also points out that people with autism can be more awkward in social settings, and some (like Anthony) suffer from misophonia – a severe sensitivity to specific soft sounds, like hearing others chew or rustle paper. Anthony sometimes wears headphones to deal with the disorder.

“Imagine what it’s like for him at school,” his mother says on Facebook. “… Imagine eating in the cafeteria, gum chewing. Everything that’s perfectly normal and common in school becomes excruciating. Of all the things he has to cope with, this one is the one I wish I could take away from him.”

Anthony Schmidt
(Photo: Facebook/Friends of Anthony Schmidt Photography)

Anthony has always overcome obstacles, and he continues to do so. Every day he painstakingly modifies his model cars (if he wants them to look like barn finds) and meticulously places them in settings that make them appear life-sized, using only an iPhone for photography. Nothing is photoshopped. 

His hobby has blossomed into a web-based business in which he sells calendars, books, clothing, postcards, and prints at anthonyschmidtphotography.com. You can also follow his work on Facebook and Instagram.

Anthony Schmidt

Anthony’s photography has become so popular that, in addition to his real-life 1959 Studebaker Silver Hawk, he received a 1957 Ford Custom 300, nicknamed “Betty,” from a gentleman named Greg Wilkinson. Wilkinson, who was also diagnosed with autism at a young age, was so moved by Anthony’s photography that he gifted him the Ford.

Then, last Halloween, Anthony met musician Craig Martin at a Trunk or Treat event where Martin was showing his black 1987 Buick Grand National. Martin’s grandson has autism, so he and Anthony immediately connected. Martin offered to write a song to accompany Anthony’s photography for online posting.

Anthony Schmidt

“He sent me the first mix of the song, and I nearly fell off my chair,” Ramona Schmidt shared in the video description of “Here I Am … I Am Me” on YouTube. “It was so much more than I ever expected. The quality of the vocals and the music itself are amazing, but the subject matter is so heartfelt and moving and describes Anthony perfectly, even mentioning his ’57 Ford and Silver Hawk. Anthony got a huge kick out of that part.”

Martin called it “probably the hardest song I’ve ever written with a pre-determined subject matter. Especially trying to say something through the eyes of Anthony or my grandson, Peyton. I’m not them and I can only speculate how they might view life around them. At times, when I was recording and mixing this song, I would get choked up.”

Anthony’s amazing story and incredible talent have the same effect on us. You can be sure you haven’t heard the last of this talented automotive photographer.

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