War Toys




Chronicling the process behind WAR-TOYS from the perspective of toy photographer Brian McCarty.

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Toy Photo Shoot - Day One

After weeks of research and art therapy-based interviews, today was the first full day dedicated to bringing the children's perspectives to life through toy photography. Since the barrier wall factored so heavily in most of kids' drawings, the area around the Kalandia Checkpoint to the West Bank served as the primary location. 


Setting for the first shot, just behind us my assistant/cameraman Montaser and I could the sounds of protestors and a swift response from Israeli soldiers. Chanting "End the Occupation," the group was quickly dispersed with flashbang grenades and tear gas. Within 30 minutes, it was back to business as usual at the checkpoint.

It was calm enough for us to do the second planned shot right in the middle of the checkpoint. No one batted an eye, and an Israeli solider manning the booth on the left even had time to flirt via the massively loud speaker system. She asked were I was from, and "Los Angeles" got a gleeful response that the entire area got to enjoy. It's completely surreal to watch lines of people and cars pass through the hell of the checkpoint while the soldiers go about just being teenagers, joking and messing around. 

I thought you'd enjoy a look through the viewfinder at the checkpoint. Winds were a little rough, making it hard to keep the toys standing. But I only needed 1/60th of a second, which I happily got with a few surprises that you'll just have to wait for.