War-Toys is a photo essay by Brian McCarty that uniquely explores the perspectives of children living in war zones using principles of play and art therapy. Girls and boys who have been affected by conflict become art directors for McCarty's narrative photographs of locally available toys, placed and posed against war-torn locations to recreate witnessed events and shared fears.
This first volume of War-Toys chronicles McCarty's collaborations over the course of two years with children in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip. Working with humanitarian organizations including the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and the Israel Trauma Coalition, McCarty gathered children’s firsthand accounts in classrooms, community centers, clinical settings, and even bomb shelters.
Drawings that the boys and girls created are shown alongside the photographs they inspired, sometimes taken while fighting raged closeby. The resulting series provides powerful context for the children’s accounts while documenting the playthings available in each area. These cheap, plastic arsenals mirror what the children see everyday – in the news and on the streets.
The 80-page, fabric bound book signed by the author includes over 75 photographs and illustrations; an introduction in English, Arabic, and Hebrew; essays by renowned expressive therapy experts Dr. Judith Rubin and Dr. Julia Byers; and a narrative account of the production of the series.
All proceeds fund the continued production of the WAR-TOYS project.