Toys: a project by Boguslawa Trela

“The idea of these photographs, was born out of my anxiety, caused by striking, socially fully accepted overconsumption. Nowadays, the excess of toys in my country becomes a norm, people buy more and more, ignoring individual, social and ecological costs.“ 


[dropcap type=”1″]I[/dropcap]n a study designed to identify and prevent addictive patterns in adults, two German researcher conducted an experiment in which they convinced a kindergarten classroom to remove all toys from the classroom for three months. Teachers reported that while on the first day the children seemed bewildered and confused, by the end of the third month they were engaged in wildly imaginative play, able to concentrate better and communicate more effectively. A study by American childhood developmental researchers reported that when children under five have too many toys, they can’t concentrate on one thing long enough to actually learn from it, instead they feel compelled to rummage through and touch everything without ever fully immersing themselves in any one activity. Michael Malone, professor of early childhood education at the University of Cincinnati, shows that parents should carefully manage their children’s access to toys.

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Malone said: More is not necessarily better. This is a myth that needs to be extinguished from western suburban culture. Our work shows that having fewer toys is associated with less solitary play and increased sharing. Conversely, too many toys can cause a sense of overload.


Children with less toys are more apt to play  outside and developed a deep relationship with nature. They are also more interested in reading, writing and art they become more resourceful.

Toys industry brings large profits (for example about £ 1.7 billion is spent each year on toys in Britain) but is responsible for pollution of the environment and worker rights violations.

Toys raise the problem of consumerism among children in developed countries and formating of the modern consumer identity. Boguslawa Trela by her black and white series  opens debate about something what used to be normal and even required by society. Toys warning over danger for children who might conform and be consumed by consumerism.

Trela works like in an improvised theater for Toys series. She prepares stage (children room) with her models and she waits for the things to happen. She is focused on excess but finally most important on her photographs is the state of mind photographed children.

Toys were shortlisted at Sony Photography Awards 2015 on Temporary Issue category. They were shown on Made in Photo exhibition at Sky Tower shopping centre/ Wroclaw/ Poland.

About the author:
Boguslawa Trela was born in 1983 in Poland. She graduate Media Art at Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Art and Design in Wroclaw in 2014. She is an author of 5 individual exhibitions and a participant of more than 20 group exhibitions in Poland and abroad.  She is based in Wroclaw/ Poland.

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