02/17/2012 12:42 pm ET

Paolo Ventura's Vivid Photographs Mix Memory And Imagination (PHOTOS)

There is a magic particular to the bedtime story, the tales heard in the final moments of consciousness before one drifts off to sleep and melts into dreams. Photographer Paolo Ventura captures these slumbering visions in his staged photographs.

Drawing off the WWII-era tales from his grandmother in Italy, Ventura lets his childhood imagination take real-life forms. Ventura builds models of the fabled scenarios, stages scenes within them and photographs them. He told ARTINFO: "Originally, I set out to find things, but I soon realized that I knew exactly what I wanted, so it would just be easier to make it myself." In his collection "Winter Stories," for instance, Ventura follows a Jewish watchmaker through an intricately constructed Venetian ghetto.

Watch Paolo on his work and see some of his fabricated worlds below:

Paolo Ventura on Winter Stories from Aperture Foundation on Vimeo.

In his mysterious world, men wear top hats and trenchcoats as escaped balloons float into the ominous Paris fog. The mix of foreboding and childhood awe awaken the feeling of an all-over anticipation for the next twist in a thrilling nighttime story.

Ventura's exhibition "The Funeral of the Anarchist" will debut at Obsolete Gallery in Venice, CA from February 25 from 6-9 pm.

See a slideshow of his work below:

Paolo Ventura
Paolo Ventura