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12-year-old with autism has a unique way to provide a window into his world - 12 Under 12

Anthony Schmidt takes photographs of classic cars that wow thousands of fans. Sponsored by Kaiser Permanente.

WOODINVILLE, Wash — To get the best possible shots of classic cars photographer Anthony Schmidt must first find the perfect angle. One that usually means getting close to the ground.

You see, the cars he shoots are toys selected from a rather substantial collection he keeps in what he calls the showroom.

We asked him how many cars. “About like 681,” he said.

Anthony knows the year, make and model of every one.

“That's a 1957 Chevrolet Cameo,” he tells us as we pick up cars at random.  

“A 1965 Shelby Cobra.”

 “A 1971 Chevrolet Camaro supersport."

The first things he learned to say were the different makes and models of cars,” his mother Ramona Schmidt tells us. "We just assumed we had a genius on our hands. We couldn't believe it. We were just in shock that he was that smart."

He's smart alright, but Anthony has also been diagnosed with autism.

"For him, it's really the sensory stuff that is through the roof," his mother said. "It's almost as if the dial has been turned up on everything --the sights the sounds and the smells can be so overwhelming."

At age 6, Anthony found a release: taking pictures of his cars.

"He sees details that others don't see," his mother adds. "It's really fun to see things from his perspective, you know?"

Credit: KING TV

Anthony doesn't have favorites. "I like every car in the way it looks," he says. "Every car in the whole world."

And people like the way his photos look. Anthony has thousands of followers on Instagram and Facebook.  He's sold hundreds of calendars and there’s even a Kickstarter campaign to help him publish a coffee table book.

Credit: Anthony Schmidt
A 1957 Chevy Bel air as photographed by Anthony Schmidt

Every shot is a thrill for Anthony's mom. “It’s a little window into his world,” she says.

A world appreciated by more and more people every day.

This story is sponsored by Kaiser PermanenteKING 5's Evening celebrates the Northwest. Contact us: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Email