Like many other 12-year-olds, Anthony Schmidt loves automobiles, although his interest runs a bit deeper. For him, they’re a way to calm his mind, which is why he started collecting and photographing realistic model cars in the first place!
Anthony has autism spectrum disorder, which has only increased his love for his favorite pastime. These days, he has more than 600 models, ranging from vintage to new, and he adores every single one of them. They don’t just sit in display cases either; he takes them out, sets them up, and snaps photos of them with his iPhone — and they are downright incredible!
According to Ramona, his mom, Anthony was able to name the make and model of pretty much every car by the time he was 2 years old. From there, his collection grew and grew, but it wasn’t until he was 6 that he started taking pictures.
Ramona saw how talented he was, so she began sharing some of his photos on social media. She said “everyone freaked out” over how realistic they were! So when Anthony was 9, Ramona set him up with his own Instagram, and now he has so many fans that he gets recognized in public!
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As his pictures became more and more popular, people started asking him for prints, calendars, and books full of them. That’s when the gifted kid started an online store where people can purchase his work!
Thanks to Anthony’s success, his car collection has continued to grow. Fans of his work enjoy sending him models they come across, and Anthony loves it since it’s unlikely that he will ever feel he has too many of them.
His popularity has also made a positive impact on the ASD community. His passion and focus have led other people on the spectrum (and their family members) to reach out. Many have said that his photography is an inspiration to them and a reminder of the beauty ASD can bring, and Anthony gets new messages like that every single day!
We have no doubt that Anthony will continue this wonderful pastime. While the popularity is fun, his collection has always been about helping him engage with the world around him. In fact, Ramona said, “His best photos [are] always taken on a bit of an off day.”
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