In every warzone and refugee camp, there are countless stories that go untold, locked behind the anguished faces of the children who have survived. These girls and boys are the ones most affected by the fighting yet the least heard from when discussing the costs of war. Pointing a camera at them makes a powerful, emotional connection, but it’s not the same as seeing war from the children's perspective, learning firsthand what they have experienced. To do that, it takes a subjective approach and a willingness to speak their language – to play.
Since 2011, Brian has collaborated with children from Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip on a photo series titled WAR-TOYS. Boys and girls are invited to become art directors for Brian's photographs of locally found toys, recreating their experiences through a deconstructive and disarming filter of play. Brian works in the field with a remarkably talented Art Therapist and NGOs / UN agencies to ensure the safety of the children and plant some seeds of resilience. The resulting photos have been exhibited internationally, used in advocacy campaigns by organizations like UNICEF, and published in dozens of countries.
Below are samples of the work, presented alongside the children's drawn accounts that served as art direction and inspiration.
For more information, visit the project's website at wartoysproject.com