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Toy Stories: Kids And Their Toys From Around The World

Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti says he knew he was on to something when he looked at a photograph he had taken in Tuscany of the daughter of a good friend.

“I went to their house and she was playing with the cows. I thought the situation was really nice,” he says, “and I decided to take the photo of her there, with the cows and together with her toys.”

It turned out so well that on a subsequent trip around the world (he’s an inveterate “couch surfer,” he says), he decided to undertake a series of photographs of children posing with their toys. The result, “Toy Stories,” is a sweet, funny, and poignant glimpse into childhood worldwide.

Galimberti says he hangs out with the kids for at least an hour to gain their trust before he asks them to show him their favorite toys. Each photo takes a few hours to organize.

Galimberti told “The Times Magazine” that the toys reveal as much about the parents as the children, remembering the Latvian taxi driver who gave her son miniature cars and the Italian farmer, his friend, whose daughter brought out her plastic gardening tools to be photographed.

Galimberti, childless himself, says he’s learned a few lessons while shooting “Toy Stories."

First, how not to behave when he becomes a parent himself someday. "Most of the time the parents are choosing the toys for their children,” he says. “I now know what I would like and I wouldn’t like to be when I become a parent,” he says.

And secondly, he learned that the poorest kids are often the kindest. “The biggest surprise has been that I’ve found that the children in the poorest countries are more generous and not possessive at all about their toys,” he says. “In the richest countries, the children are a lot more possessive.”

You can find more of Galimberti's work at his website here.

-- Grant Podelco