Originally, Gabriele Galimberti was just going to photograph a girl who happened to be playing with her toys. But once the photographer laid the four-year-old's colorful plastic farm tools around her, he saw potential. "Immediately," he says in his book's introduction, "there was something about the composition I liked."
Alessia, 3 | Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy (Gabriele Galimberti/INSTITUTE)
Thus began a 30-month, 58-country tour photographing children and their favorite toys. The resulting book, Toy Stories: Photos of Children from Around the World and Their Favorite Things, published by Abrams Image, reveals a great deal about the world's diverse socio-economic realties through an incredibly simple and inclusive subject. After all, who among us didn't have a beloved plaything — or ten — growing up?
Here, a selection of Galimberti's sweet and fascinating photos.
Niko, 5 | Homer, Alaska (Gabriele Galimberti/INSTITUTE)
Maudy, 3 | Kalullushi, Zambia | "I ended up in a small village in northern Zambia where there was nothing," Galimberti says in the intro. "No electricity, no water, and, of course, no toy shops. But the children had found a box of sunglasses — I think it fell off a truck — and the glasses became their favorite toys. Actually, their only toys. They would play 'market,' buying and selling the glasses to each other, sharing everything between them." (Gabriele Galimberti/INSTITUTE)
Pavel, 5 | Kiev, Ukraine (Gabriele Galimberti/INSTITUTE)
Stella, 4 | Montecchio, Italy (Gabriele Galimberti/INSTITUTE)
Chiwa, 4 | Mchinji, Malawi | In the book's introduction, Ben Machell says an NGO worker once gave Chiwa the green triceratops, which he loves and believes protects him at night from dangerous animals and venomous insects. (Gabriele Galimberti/INSTITUTE)
Henry, 5 | Berkeley, California (Gabriele Galimberti/INSTITUTE)
Fermina, 5 | Montevideo, Uruguay (Gabriele Galimberti/INSTITUTE)
Noel, 5 | Dallas, Texas (Gabriele Galimberti/INSTITUTE)
Arafa & Aisha, 5 | Bububu, Zanzibar (Gabriele Galimberti/INSTITUTE)
Callum, 4 | Fairbanks, Alaska (Gabriele Galimberti/INSTITUTE)
Julia, 3 | Tirana, Albania (Gabriele Galimberti/INSTITUTE)
Ralf, 4 | Riga, Latvia | "Ralf...had countless toy cars bestowed on him by his taxi-driver mother," writes Machell, "who named him after racing driver Ralf Schumacher. She loves cars. Now he does, too."
Toy Stories: Photos of Children from Around the World and Their Favorite Things
By Gabriele Galimberti
Published by Abrams Image