Chinese Factory Workers and “The Real Toy Story”
  • by Ethel Navales
  • July 17, 2013
toy story

Nearly 75% of the worlds toys are made in China. With so many of these plastic toys available to us at ease, we often forget the hard labor that goes into making them. Chinese factory workers must spend hours assembling, stuffing, painting, and working diligently to live up to the never-ending demands from the West.

Michael Wolf, a German photographer pursuing his career in Asia, decided to use his talents to remind us of the struggle that goes into making these toys. His website states:

“Wolf developed the idea around plastic toys, a fascination of his since they were off limits to him as a child. Over a period of one month, he collected over twenty thousand toys “made in China,” scavenging through second-hand stores and flea markets up and down the California coast. He transformed this vast collection into an installation, The Real Toy Story, which integrates portraits of workers in china’s toy factories into a series of walls covered entirely in plastic toys of all kinds. The result is an overwhelming, immersive experience; a graphic representation of the gargantuan scale of china’s mass production and the west’s hunger for a never-ending supply of disposable products. The gazes of the factory workers humanize this anonymous ocean of toys and invite us to reflect on the reality of trade in a world of consumer-driven globalization.”

Wolf effectively reminds us of the various faces that work endlessly to produce these items that we often take for granted. To get a full look at this series, click here.

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