Public Lecture: War-Toys: Unlocking Children’s Accounts of War Through Toy Photography by Brian McCarty

Work by Brian McCarty


When he’s not working on commissioned projects for clients like Disney and Nickelodeon, toy photographer Brian McCarty travels to war zones and refugee camps to collaborate with children who have been affected by armed conflict. Using an art therapy based approach, Brian partners with humanitarian organizations and specialized therapists to give children the opportunity to art direct his photographs of locally found toys. The resulting images narratively recreate the children’s accounts of war, often at the actual location where the events occurred. Since 2011, Brian has collaborated with boys and girls from Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip. He’s worked with organizations including UNICEF, UN Migration Agency, Terre des Hommes, UNRWA, Israel Trauma Coalition, and Kayany Foundation. Work from his ongoing War-Toys series has been covered by The Washington Post, Guardian, CNN, Wired, BBC World Service, and dozens of other international media outlets. Photographs from the series have been shown by institutions around the world including the V&A Museum of Childhood in London and Carter Presidential Library in Atlanta.

Brian will be speaking about his experiences developing War-Toys and his work with children in the Middle East. He will be previewing the latest work from the series, photographed just a few weeks ago in Iraq.

Brian is in Hong Kong to work on a Fulbright and US State Department supported project with Rémi Leclerc and PolyPlay. They are exploring opportunities to positively influence the play patterns of war-affected children through toy design and collaboration with the toy industry.

Brian McCarty

Brian McCarty's website