Classic cars have always been my passion. Even as a young boy I had a fascination for them, collecting miniature cars and enthusiastically digging through all the car magazines and books I could get my hands on. I even had my own little car business as a teen, washing cars in the neighbourhood – of course, only the precious ones. When I grew up, my interest in automobiles only grew stronger.
A few years ago, when I was living in Argentina, a friend of mine invited me to a classic car rally in Buenos Aires. This was a very good opportunity to see and photograph the best vintage cars in town. It was paradise for me. When the rally was over and the owners were inside waiting for the results, I stayed outside to be alone with the cars.
Having these gorgeous Porsches, Ferraris, Mercedes-Benz, Austin-Healeys all to myself, I felt the need to make the best of this moment and tried to come up with an exciting way to photograph them. I wanted to find an innovative perspective that would bring out the amazing design of the cars in a way that also made it accessible for people who were not already crazy about cars, an aesthetic that would also work in an Instagram stream not exclusively aimed at car fans but at design lovers in general.
When I checked out the results of the photo shoot later I decided to focus on one particular, quite minimal angle that I had always circled back to: a view of the hood from above. These shots really focused on the curves, the immaculate surface and details of the headlights while blocking out everything else that could distract the viewer. To create a coherence between these photos, I started to post them on my Instagram account with the hashtag #topviewheadlights, mixing them with my usual architectural shots and street photography.
The reception of my followers was surprisingly good. I received a lot of likes and comments and even managed to gain more followers amongst other car lovers. The #topviewheadlights hashtag gave me a framework, a style that made my photos recognizable in a sea of a growing number of car photos on Instagram. I felt motivated to focus more on car photography because I saw an interesting niche. I started a brand new Instagram account that solely featured photos of vintage car models. In addition to the #topviewheadlights shots, I explored other angles, new styles and formats to appreciate and celebrate the best classic cars. My project Carphiles was born.
Last year I developed an online magazine for Carphiles that allows me to tell stories about my car adventures and experiences in a more elaborate and detailed way. This again has opened new doors for me, connecting me with cool car collectors all over the world that I visit and photograph with their cars to create portraits about them and their passion.
I now regularly use the #topviewheadlights hashtag on both of my Instagram accounts. It’s incredible how much has developed from this simple little keyword and how it showed me many different ways to express my love for classic cars. It definitely taught me never to underestimate the power of the right hashtag. Sometimes you just gotta start from the “top”.