THE magical power of toys to shape lives has been captured in a touching new photographic exhibition.
Simon Moorhouse appealed to Scots to pose with their childhood treasures after rediscovering his first cuddly toy.
More than 250 adults got in touch with the Edinburgh-based photographer, revealing remarkable stories about their toys – some of which even inspired careers.
Everyone Simon, 30, spoke to was determined to keep hold of their beloved items and one person even admitted to getting a new body kitted for her ted which was falling apart.
One of his favourite photos is of scientist Stewart Short and his chemistry set from the 1960s.
“Some of the stuff you would get in a chemistry set then would be illegal in a chemistry set today,” said Simon.
“The owner, Stewart, has stuff missing but some of the stuff, like the chemical powders, were just very peculiar.
“Stewart went on to work in science, he had the kit from being about four years old, he loved science and went on to become a science technician and work with children at a science centre.
“Now he’s an actor, but he still holds on to the chemistry set.”
Another item that struck a chord for Simon was a globe treasured by Kelly Muir.
She got it when she was eight after spotting it in Woolworths and spent hours staring at it as a child.
“She wants to travel the world,” explained Simon.
He added: “The stories that have come out of it have been quite emotional. It’s interesting to see why people still keep hold of these things.
“A lot of people keep them for security – it’s like a happy thought. Some of them see them as a companion to their life.
“The strangest thing was finding out how reliant people are on their toys.”
Speaking about his own favourite childhood item – a cuddly monkey called Charlie – Simon said: “I always remember the cuddly monkey being there in my childhood but not for any specific reason.
“I kept hold of the little bugger through the years and no matter what it’s always followed me wherever I’ve gone.
“Charlie is still in my house, my daughter now has it in her room. I think that’s the real reason I kept it to be honest. Almost like an heirloom to pass down to the generations of the future.”
He added: “Its very rare to be at the start of an heirloom when I think about it.”
The exhibition ‘Nostalgia’ is on show at Creative Exchange, 29 Constitution Street, Leith, Edinburgh, until 5 June.
Simon plans to expand the project outside of Scotland and will photograph people with their toys in Sheffield, London and Cambridgeshire.