While growing up, did you have a particular stuffed animal, tattered blanket or toy that you took everywhere with you? If so, what role did this beloved object play in your life?
Ask some adults and they may even get a little teary-eyed telling you about their treasured childhood playthings.
Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti’s recent project, Toy Stories, is comprised of numerous photos of children from all around the world with their most prized possessions – their toys.
He came up with the idea after watching a friend’s daughter play with her gardening tools. The photographs are both colorful and thought-provoking. They may even make you reflect on your own childhood.
Through photographing these children with their belongings, Galimberti dives deep into the universality of what being a child is all about. Amidst the diversity that is found on every corner of the world, it is revealed that children simply want one thing: to play.
Over a period of 18 months, Galimberti traveled to foreign places and visited families whose children were happy to share their favorite toys with him. The photographer arranged the child and their toys in such a way to create the perfect composition.
Children in richer countries seemed to be more possessive with their vast amount of toys, while in poorer areas of the world it was much easier to interact and play with the few things they had. From country to country, there were both similarities and differences in the protective and functional influences the toys represented for their proprietors.
Wherever Galimberti visited, the toys were a reflection of the world each child lived in. Whether it be what surrounded their daily lives or their economic status, the types of toys they chose to play with mirrored their every day world.
The function of the toys for each child was the most amusing. For instance, a four-year-old girl in Malawi and a six-year-old boy in Texas both believed that their plastic dinosaurs would protect them from nighttime dangers, while the daughter of an Italian farmer collected a variety of miniature hoes, rakes and spades.
This project has a much deeper meaning than just being able to view how children in different nations play, it has become an anthropological study.
Check out the photos, above.