They say a picture is worth a thousand words but what about tens of pictures? From over 50 countries? Well, that's a book, and it's called Toy Stories: Photos of Children from Around the World and Their Favorite Things.
For about two years, Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti had been visiting boys and girls around the globe to capture their portraits with their most prized possession — toys. From Texas to India, Malawi to China, Iceland, Morocco, and Fiji, Galimberti recorded the spontaneous and natural joy that unites kids despite their diverse backgrounds. Whether the child owns a veritable fleet of miniature cars or just a single stuffed monkey, the pride that they have is moving, funny, and thought-provoking.
"I started this project almost by chance!" Galimberti told Bored Panda. "The first photo that I took for this series was in Tuscany, it's the one with the girl and the cows in the background. She's the daughter of one of my best friends. He asked me to photograph her, so I went to their house and she was playing with the cows. I thought that situation was really nice and so I decided to take a photo of that moment. I asked her to pose together with her toys and with the cows in the background. Then I really loved the result 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."
Rivaldo Fesna, 5 , Port-Au-Prince , Haiti
Galimberti traveled the world in 2012-2013. At that time, he was working for one of the biggest Italian magazines, D La Repubblica. He was doing a story for the magazine about CouchSurfing and visited 58 countries using the Internet platform. Every week, he had a page on the magazine to report his trip and was publishing a portrait of the couchsurfer that was hosting him at the time.
"All the children that I have photographed are somehow connected to the couchsurfers that have hosted me. They are their children, their nephews, or simply their neighbors."
Tangawizi, 3, Keekorok, Kenya
The kids look comfortable and relaxed in the photos and that's probably because Galimberti took the time to earn their trust first. Mostly by playing with them. "I was really surprised to see how easy it was for children to understand my project!" He would spend anywhere from a couple of hours to a whole day getting to know the children before taking out his camera.
You can see a lot of differences in the photos but the thing that all of them have in common, according to Galimberti, is that they just love to play.