We were first introduced to globetrotting Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberte back in December of last year, when his photo series of the world’s grandmothers cooking their signature dishes defrosted our frozen TV dinner hearts. His newest collection of pictures is just as aww-inducing and heartwarming, but this time there’s a twinge of sadness in the nostalgia.
In his latest work entitled Toy Stories, Galimberte takes his global lens and focuses it on the children of the world and their meticulously arranged prized possessions – their toys. Shot in 18 months during his travels, the series examines the common thread of innocence that ties all children together despite their location, race, or socioeconomic standing
Chiwa | Mwafulir, Malawi
According to the website dedicated to the project:
Even children worlds apart share similarities when it comes to the function their toys serve. Galimberti talks about meeting a six-year-old boy in Texas and a four-year-old girl in Malawi who both maintained their plastic dinosaurs would protect them from the dangers they believed waited for them at night – from kidnappers and poisonous animals respectively. More common was how the toys reflected the world each child was born into: so the girl from an affluent Mumbai family loves Monopoly, because she likes the idea of building houses and hotels, while the boy from rural Mexico loves trucks, because he sees them rumbling through his village to the nearby sugar plantation every day.
As that description suggests, it becomes clear while glancing through the pictures that this is more an anthropological study than a simple photo series. For example, Galimberte discovered that children in more developed countries were more hesitant to let him play with their prized playthings than kids in poorer regions, suggesting the bonds of materialism take root at a younger age than many would assume.
But beyond the sociological takeaways one may glean from these photos of the world’s children, it’s important to note the conclusion that Galimberte came to at the end of his 18-month process: “At their age, they are pretty all much the same. They just want to play.”
Check out more of the pictures from Toy Stories below, and click here to see the set in its entirety.
Farida | Cairo, Egypt
Allena | El Nido, Philippines