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News & Insight

‘Toy Stories’ by Gabriele Galimberti

By Ruth Dunn on September 19th 2013

Take a moment and think back to your childhood. The era in your life when cooties were the biggest concern, the only thing you knew about a bill was that it was a bird’s equivalent of lips and your day job was to construct fantastical worlds with your favourite toys. In his series ‘Toy Stories’, Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti explores the connection between children and their toys, gives us insight into their tiny worlds and takes us on a trip down memory lane.

‘Toy Stories’ is the result of an 18 month round the world trip where Galimberti visited a variety of countries and cultures and took photographs of children and their toys. Galimberti would often take part in a child’s games prior to arranging the toys for the photograph. He says:

“The richest children were more possessive. At the beginning, they wouldn’t want me to touch their toys, and I would need more time before they would let me play with them […] In poor countries, it was much easier. Even if they only had two or three toys, they didn’t really care. In Africa, the kids would mostly play with their friends outside.”

Despite some differences, Galimberti found similarities between children living worlds apart. Even in different countries, some children’s toys played the same function: protecting them from dangers and things they feared in the night.

The Italian photographer also found that many children were attached to toys that reflected the world that surrounded them in their particular area. A boy from an affluent Beijing family loves Monopoly because he enjoys the idea of building houses and hotels, while another young boy living in rural Mexico loves trucks because they travel through his village on the way to the sugar plantation everyday.

A lovely point Galimberti made about his experience was that toys haven’t changed all that much since he was a kid.

“I’d often find the kind of toys I used to have,” he says. “It was nice to go back to my childhood somehow.”


Alessia from Castiglio, Fiorentino.

ernesto-Firenze, Italy

Ernesto from Firenze, Italy.


Maudy from Kalulushi, Zambia.


Noel from South Dallas, Texas.


Taha from Beirut, Lebanon.


Reanya from Sepang, Malaysia.


Arafa and Aisha from Bububu, Zanzibar.


Ruth is a Brisbane based journalist specialising in articles about visual art, photography, design and fashion. Co-founder of Raw Ink magazine, she enjoys uncovering interesting and unique events, issues and people to write about.

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