War Toys




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

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Toy Shoot Day Two and Deheisheh Camp Art

My second day dedicated to toy photos went equally as good as the first, if not better. The skies turned cloudy, making for soft light and interesting textures. I started the morning by visiting a construction site of an Israeli settlement smack in the middle of an Arab neighborhood. Still not sure how I feel about the resulting shot. While a toy bulldozer was certainly at home and illustrates the work happening, unlike the other photos, it still needs some explanation. I'm not sure if the context is immediately apparent. 


The next location took me once again through the Kalandia Checkpoint into the West Bank. My assistant and I walked far along the wall into an area best described as a wasteland. It was there that I set up a toy battle inspired by a drawing that a child at Spafford made. It showed Palestinians attacking Israelis at the wall. The child drew the scene when asked what he hoped for in the future. 


While building the scene we picked up a local spectator. The child didn't give his name, but said that he lived in a construction site nearby. Based upon his appearance and what else we could pry from him, the child is an orphan living on the streets, and he's never been to school. Crossing through the checkpoint in many ways is crossing into the third world. Despite construction of new high rise towers and other signs of economic recovery in nearby Ramallah, social services are still severely lacking.

I couldn't resist putting the unnamed child in the background of the resulting shot, spectator to the war that his peers hope will someday come. 


Today I traveled back to the Deheisheh Refugee Camp south of Bethlehem. Their cultural center invited a group of local children to come in and give their accounts of life within the camp as well as express their daily fears. As I mentioned previously, the IDF conducts raids within the camp once a week on average. As small as the area is, the children see a lot and anxieties can run high.


The images that the children made were extremely telling. I'm going to spend tomorrow picking up a few more toys to help illustrate what they expressed. I'll be returning to the camp on Thursday to photograph and give context to their drawn accounts.