The nonprofit arts and media organization War Toys has created 300 hand-numbered 1.5-inch (38mm) tall pewter figures of photojournalist Gilkey for adult collectors.
War Toys worked with NPR and the estate of photojournalist Gilkey to create the pewter figures that will support the non-profit organization’s toy industry program.
The figure of Gilkey was sculpted by miniatures designer Anissa Tchoub and guided by his friends, family, and colleagues. It includes small, personal details that are intended to speak to the photojournalist’s enduring character and approach.
Each pewter figure of Gilkey — which retails at $75 — arrives in a special adult collectors set that features an accompanying 7″ vinyl record.
The A-side of the accompanying vinyl record has a new “music box” version of singer Madeleine Peyroux’s cover of It’s a Mistake created especially for War Toys. Peyroux recorded the piece on Armistice Day in a basement studio in Harlem.
The B-side has an ambient recording of war, captured by David Gilkey while embedded with U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Working for NPR, Gilkey kept a field recorder on his helmet, which is depicted on his pewter figure, to provide added context for his photographs. It captures the perilous and often conflicting experience of a photojournalist covering war from the frontlines.
For nearly two decades up until his death at the age of 50, Gilkey pointed his lens at war, disasters, and epidemics. Gilkey got up close and personal with the subjects he covered, calling his feet “the greatest zoom lens ever invented.”
Over his decades-long career with NPR, David also photographed events like the end of apartheid in South Africa, the earthquake in Haiti, and Ebola in Liberia. Even going into his 50s, Gilkey never dreamed of slowing and settling down to a peaceful and quiet life — he was deeply committed to the craft of photojournalism.
However, in 2016, Gilkey was tragically killed by Taliban-linked forces in Afghanistan while documenting the fighting.
According to War Toys’ website, the pewter figures of Gilkey are available for pre-order now and will begin shipping on November 27. The vinyl records will ship separately in early 2024 via USPS Media Mail.