You have likely seen Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti's photos floating around the internet lately. His latest series, "Toy Stories" is the result of an 18-month project documenting children from around the world with their favorite toys. Many of the portraits were taken in the kids' rooms. We see a range of living conditions from sparse to affluent. The concept is so simple yet so brilliant. It doesn't hurt that the photographs were also expertly executed.
I had to know how this project came about, so I shot Gabriele a few questions.
What inspired this project?
I started this project almost by accident! The first photo that I took of this series was in Tuscany- the girl with the cows in the background. She's the child of one of my best friends. My friend asked me to photograph her child. So I went to their house and she was playing with the cows. I thought that situation was really nice and I decided to take the photo of her there, with the cows and together with her toys. I really loved the result of that photo and some months later, when I had the possibility to start my trip around the world, I decided to take the same kind of photo in every country that I was going to visit.
What made you settle on a child to photograph?
Nothing special. Actually, I asked other people to choose the child to photograph. I always asked local people in the place where I was to help choose for me a child that could represent his/her country.
How did your expectations at the beginning of the project compare to your finished series?
At the beginning, I didn't have a big expectation for this project. I just wanted to shoot some nice photos to show differences of the children in the world. So, now I'm really surprised and happy about the result of the project. I see that a lot of people love it.
The images in another photographer's hands could have easily grown monotonous or even heavy-handed. But as you can see in the images above, there is an innocence to Galimberti's portraits. He was patient and not invasive. These kids felt comfortable sharing their worlds with Galimberti. And I'm glad they did it.