Classic Cars, Everlasting Love and "Perfect Teeth": an interview with Dr. Thorsten Montag
At SpeedHolics, we spend a lot of time on Instagram, gazing at beautiful cars in beautiful surroundings. And that’s precisely how we came across Dr. Thorsten Montag.
Photos by Thorsten Montag (IG: @fantomas_ds)
We were stopped in our tracks not only by a reel of stunning cars but by his perfectly captured angles, color tones, and backdrops of Berlin’s striking modernist architecture. We’ll also fully admit that the recurring use of just one eye catching model made us curious. So we did what we always do at SpeedHolics - we reached out for a quick chat. And it was a great one, with our subject proving to be a man of many, many talents. Here’s what Doctor Montag had to say:
SpeedHolics: Tell us a little about yourself, Doc.
Dr Thorsten: I’m a dentist, and I live in Berlin. I’m a father of four girls, and husband to an amazing, beautiful wife.
SH: So the woman in your images is your wife? How did you meet?
DT: Yes, that’s Ira, my favorite and only model. We met 15 years ago when she came to my dental practice. I fell in love instantly. She was studying computer science at the time, so I asked her if she could build a website for my clinic. She went on to work for a lifestyle magazine, and for two years the two of us travelled around the world shooting fashion and travel features for the magazine.
SH: Incredible. You have some amazing cars in your shots. Are they yours?
DT: Indeed. I own three classic cars. A Maserati Indy, a Citroen DS Convertible, and a Citroen DS Limousine. I’ve had the Citroens for a long time. I bought the Limo in 1994, and the Convertible in 2004. The Indy is a pretty new addition—bought in 2019.
SH: Why these particular cars? What was it that compelled you to own them?
DT: Since I was young I’ve been fascinated by the Citroen DS. I saw them all the time in French movies starring the likes of Louis de Funès, and back when I was a little boy they seemed to be all over the streets of Berlin. There’s something about their design and their historical pull. Driving the DS is like hovering around in a gentle little spaceship. The Indy is a whole other story. The complete opposite in fact. It’s fast and flat. It’s got that quintessentially Italian temperament. Truth be told it was a more compulsive buy. I saw an Indy in real life for the very first time about five years ago, but I was immediately enchanted by that huge, elegant body. It’s really a lot bigger than it looks in the pictures.
SH: We noticed that, aside from Ira, your shots are very architecturally influenced. Tell us a little about this.
DT: That’s right. It’s a Berlin thing. You must remember that when the Berlin wall came in down in 1989, it left a huge opening for architecture. The “Death Strip” ran through the geographic center of the city, so its destruction allowed some of the best architects on the planet to come and begin from scratch right in the middle of the reunited city. In a way that’s an architect's dream, to begin at point zero in some place significant. It’s made for some really great buildings and places to shoot.
SH: Tell us about your process and setup for shooting your cars.
DT: I use a Canon 5D Mark II, or an iPhone 11 pro. The quality of shots on both are really stunning. As you’ve already seen, I feature a lot of architecture in the background of my shots to contrast and compliment the shape and color of the cars. I usually begin shooting very early on Sunday mornings, around 6 AM. That’s when the city is still asleep, and there’s this special atmosphere around this beautiful, empty city. No traffic, no noise. The drive is beautiful, and the light is just right.
SH: Outside of dentistry, family life and car photography, what can you be found doing?
DT: Driving of course! But riding motorcycles as well. I have three beautiful old motorcycles to compliment my cars. I’ve got a Moto Guzzi Le Mans, a Triumph Tiger, and a BMW R80. I also travel as much as possible, go mountain biking, and relax by playing Spanish and Latin American Guitar.
SH: A man of many talents and interests! One final question. Where can our readers find your work?
DT: Follow me and my work on Instagram @fantomas_ds