Illusionary giants

Eric Otto photographed model cars like no other. His photography studio is the real world. A wander through Hamburg.

It all started on holiday in France. That’s where Eric Otto comes from. And there he found a model of the state sedan of Charles de Gaulle in the window of a toy shop. One evening he simply set it down on the road and photographed it. And the result looked so realistic that friends ask him how on earth he had managed to get his hands on that car. After all, it was in a museum.

An idea was born. From then on, Eric Otto photographed model cars. But not just any old model cars. “It depends on the quality. They have to be good models. Models that look like the originals. Ultimately I want to create the illusion of something real.” But that’s just art as practised by others. Much more important is the art that Eric Otto himself adds to his works. For instance, the lighting mood plays a key role. Long shadows, calm light or even night shots – these are the moments when Eric Otto’s small worlds get really big. “The natural look of the photos is important to me. Everything has to happen on the spot – I'm not a fan of Photoshop. The angle of the light, the exact choice of aperture, the composition – it all has to be genuine.”

Porsche 911, Alpine A110, l-r, Hamburg, 2018, Porsche AG
Porsche 911 (l.) and Alpine A110 in Hamburg

Only the cars are not real. They are made by quality manufacturers such as Schuco or Minichamps. The largest selection is available in 1:43 and 1:18 scales. And so Eric Otto usually packs his model suitcase in the afternoon and sets off. He has taken pictures in Paris, New York, London, Berlin – and many times in Hamburg, his native city. His greatest success to date was the “La French Connection” exhibition with exciting gangster themes in a film noir style.

His love of cops and robbers is also reflected in his mini photo series for Porsche Klassik. It makes you want to climb in and drive off. Sadly it doesn’t work like that. But we can dream. And if you want to dream too, it is well worth taking a look at

Related Content