A Picture of Possessions: Toy Stories

toy stories 031413.jpg

Arafa & Aisha - Bububu, Zanzibar

Regardless of nationality or economic status, children cherish their toys. In his project Toy Stories, photographer Gabriele Galimberti spent 18 months documenting children around the world showcasing their prized possessions. Norden-Rrahke-Marocco-3:13.jpg
Norden - Rrahke, Marocco

What struck me most about these images was the similarities between the children, not their differences. I expected to feel a sense of lack and sadness from the children who have fewer toys to display and possibly live in poverty, but instead, those children seemed equally, if not more, happy and satisfied with their belongings.

Cun-Zi-Yi-China-3:13.jpg
Cun Zi Yi - Chongqing, China

In fact, Galimberti noticed that the richest children were more possessive with their toys and needed more time before letting him arrange them for the photo. In poorer families, even if they had only a few toys, they didn't seem to mind the imposition.

enea-colorado-3:13.jpg

Enea - Boulder, Colorado

For me, these photos are more a celebration of childhood and the developing interests and personalities of each child than a statement about economic advantage. And those personalities have a lot to do with their role models. Galimberti says, "Doing this, I learnt more about the parents than I did about the kids." As the ones who buy the toys, parents, perhaps unconsciously, reveal their aspirations for their children. Like the farmer's daughter below and her collection of tools.

alessia-toscana-3:13.jpg

Alessia - Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy

Ultimately, kids are kids and, as much as we want to let them represent agendas or make statements, they're more concerned with having fun. I'd say it's a pretty good lesson for us all.

See them all at Gabriele Galimberti.

(Images: Gabriele Galimberti)

20 Comments