“Take a moment and think back to your childhood, the era in your life when 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 favorite toys.”- writes Gabriele Galimberti, an Italian photographer, who decided to recreate the essence of childhood with his peculiar photographs.
Gabriele Galimberti’s main aim was to explore the intricate connection between children and toys. He wanted to get acquainted with the captivating world created by children’s imagination and unique fantasies. To achieve his goal, Gabriel Galimberti embarked on an interesting project called “toy stories”, which is a photograph series dedicated to recreating children’s fantastical worlds with the help of the toys that reflect their personality. “Toy Stories” is a result of a 30-month trip. During the trip, the photographer visited more than 50 countries and took photos of children with their favorite toys. Gabriel’s project started in Italy, Castiglion Fiorentino, when he took a portrait of a 5-year-old Alessia with her “agricultural toys”. A few months later a new project was born.
From Texas to India, Malawi to China, Iceland, Morocco and Fiji, Gabriel Galimberti recorded spontaneous joy that unites all the kids despite their cultural differences. His photographs are exceedingly vivid and filled with toys that represent the children’s unique personalities. From his photographs, we can also sense Gabriele’s love for symmetry and interesting composition. Almost each of the photographs in the series is immensely symmetrical. We can see a child portrayed in the middle of the photograph with the vast number of toys surrounding them. This solemn composition is even more captivating and, before we comprehend it, we completely become engrossed in the scene.
Gabriele Galimberti’s photographs radiate incredible joy and happiness which are generally attributed to the pure period of childhood. His photographs give us, the viewers, an insight into the children’s mesmerizing and idiosyncratic worlds. In addition, his photographs have a function of a time bridge. Not only can we see the children’s peculiar worlds, but we can also reconnect with our own childhood roots and perceive this distant period with a tangible and distinct form. “Toys haven’t changed all that much since I was a kid. I’d often find the kind of toys I used to have. It was nice to go back to my childhood somehow.”- remarks Gabriele Galimberti.
The most remarkable aspect of this photography series is the important message it conveys. Apart from recreating children’s worlds, Gabriele Galimberti was able to emphasize that despite our cultural differences and geographical barriers, there are vast similarities among children living far apart. Children with different cultural backgrounds, ethnicities and religions share one belief in toys, which are the means to their ends. For these children, toys have a similar purpose. It enables them to express themselves and create a unique universe based on their imagination. Moreover, toys also helped the children to feel protected from the dangers and frights of the outside world.
Gabriele Galimberti’s “toy stories” give us a glimpse of children’s lives from all around the world. Each photograph in the series has the ability to speak to the viewers and it really does narrate special stories of the kids. The photography series is poignant as it helps us to reconnect with our own childhood roots but also important as it conveys the message that despite cultural differences, we are all united by the same passions and beliefs. These beliefs might be different on a superficial level, but the essence is invariable.
“Whether the child owns a veritable fleet of miniature cars or a single stuffed monkey, the pride that they have is moving, funny, and thought-provoking.”- remarks Gabriele Galimberti.
If you want to see more of Gabriele’s work, follow him on Instagram: