Old friends. A completely new look at automotive history: Christian Blanck highlights six decades of classic cars in his book Kinderzimmerhelden (“Playroom Heroes”). This evocation of childhood memories is now also available in an exclusive
Christian Blanck gently approaches the object in his lens. He changes its position a few times and tests different perspectives and light conditions. He has spent four years on this photographic quest. Today, his camera is focused on a
This is not your average automotive photo session. You won’t find any studio lamps or flash systems here. Instead, bright sunlight illuminates the dents and scratches in the paint on the
Christian Blanck stages childhood memories. His first book, Kinderzimmerhelden, was published in 2015. Its 300 pages are filled with beat-up, colored, and scratched toy cars, from Matchbox, Siku, Majorette, and Dinky Toys to Hot Wheels. Collectors refer to them as bespielt (“played with”); however, this term is not precise enough to cover the complete spectrum of wear and tear. Blanck captures it all. He doesn’t just take photos of toys. His images transport viewers back to their own childhoods—and very successfully at that. The first edition of his work is nearly sold out.
“We all have very individual memories of our adventures with toy cars,” says Blanck. We remember attempting to repair them with a screwdriver, dropping them out of a third-floor window, and staging monstrous crash tests—a car in each hand, arms extended, hands as far from each other as possible, and all available force put into a head-on collision. This memory came to Blanck one Sunday morning. He was pushing cars around the living-room floor with his son Niklas, who was two at the time, and taking photos of the cars and the boy with his phone. “I would never have remembered that if we had been playing with perfect models right out of the package,” observes Blanck. Those familiar dings and dents on the cars are what evoked the long-submerged memories for him.
Model cars with a certain patina are one thing; making a successful book out of them is another. You need a special set of talents to do so. When Blanck isn’t finding, sorting, or photographing model cars, he works as a freelance strategy consultant. He describes his work as “helping to launch new brands, products, and ideas.” He is also guiding a rock band on its way into the charts. He studied history and political science with the aim of becoming a journalist, but an internship prompted him to become a strategist. He spent two hundred days a year on the road with a Formula One entourage and later organized campaigns for travel companies and manufacturers of sporting goods. He even started his own collection of jewelry. The necklaces and bracelets, made of wood, palm resin, and natural dyes—all of it organic—are marketed under the brand “Die blancke Liebe,” a play on his name, which translates into “pure love.”
Blanck’s wife says his career has not had much continuity, but Blanck sees the matter differently. “My common thread lies in the fact that I don’t board trains that are already moving,” he says. “What I like to do is set things in motion.” That would also describe his approach to his book. “If the product is perfect, you can manage the rest,” is his philosophy, so he learned to do more than simply take photos. “Kinderzimmerhelden is more a work of art than a book,” he says. To understand what he means, all you have to do is hold a copy in your hands. The cover and printing are of superior quality, and the special printing on the cut edges is unique. The cars are still a hobby, but one that is gaining in importance and momentum. Preparation is under way for a second edition. A card game and an Advent calendar have been on the market since early fall, and the first project with a brand-name connection—the Kinderzimmerhelden book from
The book tells a part of
Blanck doesn’t need to worry about finding more cars to photograph. Since seeing the first photos, his friends, colleagues, and acquaintances have been on the lookout for cars with the bespielt quality. The oldest source thus far has been a 70-year-old neighbor. The models in the
By Ole Zimmer
Photos by Christian Blanck
The author lives with his wife Nele and their sons Niklas and Henri in Stuttgart. His first heroes—two boxes full of childhood memories—came from his parents’ attic.
Kinderzimmerhelden – Das