A Blind Photographer Took Some of the Coolest Car Photos You’ll Ever See for Volkswagen

See Pete Eckert's astonishing 'light paintings'

Headshot of Patrick Coffee

About 30 years ago, aspiring architect Pete Eckert learned he would soon lose his eyesight to retinitis pigmentosa. It was hardly the ideal time to rediscover his mother’s camera, but since then, Eckert has made his mark on the world of professional photography by way of a technique that uses “sound, touch and memory” to effectively sculpt an image of the object in question.

German agency Grabarz & Partner thought Eckert’s self-described “light paintings” would be an ideal way to showcase its client Volkswagen’s newest model, the four-door fastback Arteon.

In his first project for an auto brand, Eckert combined his unique sculptural approach with a series of brightly colored flash lights and long-exposure techniques to frame the Arteon as a marvel of modern design. In some cases, the car looks to be generating sparks or appears as a kind of mirage whose physical form is not quite clear.

Eckert’s one-of-a-kind approach stems in large part from the fact that he learned to take photographs while permanently losing his sense of sight.

“I am a visual person. I just can’t see,” he said. According to the VW microsite and the making-of video above, he “gained sensory impressions of the new Arteon by feeling and tapping” its exterior before taking photos in complete darkness, then produced the surreal visual effects by creating and manipulating light sources with the help of his assistant.

“The new Arteon represents expressive, avant-garde design. Pete Eckert has presented this design in a unique way,” said Volkswagen head of marketing Xavier Chardon. “The images he has created are genuine works of art and have a very special atmosphere that only he can create.”

Decon director TJ O’Grady Peyton helmed the making-of video for German production company Bubble Films.

More pics below.

Client: Volkswagen
Agency: Grabarz & Partner
Photographger: Pete Eckert

@PatrickCoffee patrick.coffee@adweek.com Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.