The photographs on these pages and on the cover use models that are about the size of Barbie dolls. They are by Paolo Ventura, who combined his skills as a modelmaker and photographer to create an imaginary world to tell the life story of a fictional Italian circus performer. The project began with simple pencil drawings that became templates for sets built with old furniture from flea markets. Next he handcrafted a cast of model clowns, tightrope walkers and lion tamers. On completion he took hundreds of Polaroids of each scene until he was completely satisfied — and took the final frame. A limited edition of his book, Winter Stories (published by Contrasto), is available now.