Where are you based?
I’m based in London, where I study. Originally, I grew up in Switzerland, and at the moment I spend more time travelling around the world than home in London.
How did you get into photography?
I’ve always been a keen photographer, since a young age. We used to have a DSLR in the family, and I would pretty much be the one that took pictures with it all the time. When I joined Instagram, my photography hobby became more of an obsession, a human need. So for the last five years, I live, breathe and eat photography.
What inspired you to take photographs with toy cars, creating @travellingcars?
One sunny Sunday in April, I took all my toys outside in the garden as I was taking pictures for an Instagram project raising awareness about autism. The first picture was one of a minivan and Paddington Bear. I posted it on Instagram and the feedback was great so I continued. Then I travelled more and more, adding more and more cars to my collection.
What is the inspiration behind this Instagram handle?
I had been sharing the car pictures on my personal account @kim.ou for some time, and decided to create a separate gallery for the cars only, more for myself to share more images of them.
Has Instagram changed the way you photograph and/or look at things?
It definitely has. Five years ago I was at high school, intending to study Pharmacy, and then I joined Instagram and all I could think about was what pictures I could take of everything that crossed my line of vision. I feel like my eyes have become my camera and I’m constantly taking pictures, re-cropping them in my head. It’s pretty weird, but at the same time, I’m very lucky, because I’ve had that privilege of seeing something beautiful all the time.
Whose work influences you?
I have a lot of artists that I would love to be more like, such as Joan Fontcuberta for example. It’s more his ideas and the whole persona that fascinates me. For the aesthetic of their works, I’d say the universes created by Rinko Kawauchi and Susan Derges are a great inspiration.
But I must admit, my greatest inspirations are cinema and music. Artists such as Ben Howard are an integral part of my creative process.
What do you want to say with your photographs, what message do you want to convey?
It’s a story of adventures, of nostalgia, of the great old days, and of going back to childhood. I want to make people smile with my pictures, I don’t want to trick them into believing the cars are real, I want them to get in touch with that little part of themselves, to reconnect with their inner kid inside, the kid they thought they had lost. I’m not going to change the world, but if I can make people smile a little, then that’s the best compliment I can receive.
As you take more photographs of miniature cars traveling the world, what motivates you to continue?
When I take these photographs, I enter – sort of – a little bubble, where only the moment itself matters. It’s just my little escape from daily life, and I know that I can easily just forget about everything that could worry me. Hearing people telling me that my pictures make them happy is the best motivation to continue too.
How do you find the ‘ideal’ locations that you want to take photos of? For example, do you travel to locations you know you’ll find appealing, or take pictures as you experience life?
Sometimes I plan, most of the time I see a place and I know it will work or not. Because it’s mostly low on the ground, it’s a very special point of view, that people are not always seeing.
I’m currently in Southeast Asia (Lombok, near Bali) and going to Kuala Lumpur and Thailand next. I really, really want to go to South America, California and all the west coast of the States; and Canada.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into photography?
Open your eyes. Try to decide what you want to show, what pleases your eyes, the way you want to show the world. Because that, in my opinion, is what photography is about. It’s a way for you to express yourself, and the more you practice, the more accurate your photography of the world will be to your own perception of it.