Portraits of Kids Around the World Posing with Their Favorite Toys


This portrait is of a little boy named Lucas who lives in Sydney, Australia. Like many children around the world, Lucas enjoys playing with toys, particularly his set of miniature trains and wooden railroad tracks.

Like many photographers around the world, Gabriele Galimberti enjoys traveling. During an 18 month span of travels, Galimberti visited and photographed children in a long list of countries around the world with each child posing with his or her favorite toys. Lucas was one of the kids Galimberti visited for his project, which is titled “Toy Stories.”

For each of the images, Galimberti played with the children and their toys for a short time, helped them arrange the toys neatly on the ground, and then had the kids post for a portrait. Through the many portrait sessions, Galimberti discovered that children around the world have similarities and differences. While all enjoy playing and having fun, the economic status of the children apparently has a big influence on the children’s personalities.

The wealthiest children were more possessive of their belongings, refusing to let Galimberti touch the toys at first. Building rapport with those kids took longer. The poorer children were much more receptive to Galimberti and were more generous with their fewer belongings. In the poorest countries, children often had very few toys, and therefore spent most of their time outdoors with friends.

Galimberti’s portraits are very revealing of the children’s worlds — their personalities, economic statuses, families, interests, personalities, and countries:

Jaqueline - Manila, Philippines

Jaqueline – Manila, Philippines

Maudy - Kalulushi, Zambia

Maudy – Kalulushi, Zambia

Noel - Dallas, Texas

Noel – Dallas, Texas

Allenah - El Nido, Philippines

Allenah – El Nido, Philippines

Tangawizi - Keekorok, Kenya

Tangawizi – Keekorok, Kenya

Cun Zi Yi - Chongqing, China

Cun Zi Yi – Chongqing, China

Alessia - Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy

Alessia – Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy

Li Yi Chen - Shenyang, China

Li Yi Chen – Shenyang, China

Abel - Nopaltepec, Mexico

Abel – Nopaltepec, Mexico

Watcharapom - Bangkok, Thailand

Watcharapom – Bangkok, Thailand

Bethsaida - Port au Prince, Haiti

Bethsaida – Port au Prince, Haiti

Taha - Beirut, Lebanon

Taha – Beirut, Lebanon

Shaira - Mumbai, India

Shaira – Mumbai, India

Virginia - American Fork, Utah

Virginia – American Fork, Utah

Reanya - Sepang, Malaysia

Reanya – Sepang, Malaysia

Naya - Managua, Nicaragua

Naya – Managua, Nicaragua

Pavel - Kiev, Ukraine

Pavel – Kiev, Ukraine

Ryan - Johannesburg, South Africa

Ryan – Johannesburg, South Africa

Stella - Montecchio, Italy

Stella – Montecchio, Italy

Kalesi - Viseisei, Fiji Islands

Kalesi – Viseisei, Fiji Islands

Botlhe - Maun, Botswana

Botlhe – Maun, Botswana

Julia - Tirana, Albania

Julia – Tirana, Albania

Chiwa - Mchinji, Malawi

Chiwa – Mchinji, Malawi

You can find the entire set of Toy Stories photographs over on Galimberti’s website.

Toy Stories by Gabriele Galimberti (via American Photo)

Image credits: Photographs by Gabriele Galimberti and used with permission

  • droops

    reminds me of James Mollison’s Where Children Sleep.

  • Cami Donohue

    Wonderful idea and executed really well. I was intrigued by each photo!

  • lolo

    I like the boy with the fake shirt “sonopy”

  • ennuipoet

    There is a beautiful universality to the toys, across geography, politics, economics and religions, you see it. Children do not know boundaries, and we could learn something from them. Plus, AWESOME dinosaurs!!!!!

  • Adi Ulici

    Great gallery. There were two pictures which captured my attention especially:
    Li Yi Chen’s (Shenyang China) and Pavel’s (Kiev, Ukraine).

    I had a good laugh though at Virginia’s picture (American Fork, Utah) :)

  • dudung10

    great composition, great art direction.

  • photo boner

    how many more of these projects do you need to post? there was a similar one last week. I’d like to see one with guys and all the chicks the’ve banged. until then, enough of the portraits of people and all the crap they own.

  • Jonathon Watkins

    Good idea, well executed. Like it.

  • kind of

    I agree they are in general the same idea. But still at least worth an interesting look through what kids from other countries enjoy.

    I will say though. Your recommended idea would be rather interesting ….

  • photo boner

    i agree. the different countries is interesting, but it’s been done so many times and it seems like everytime someone does this… it makes it on petapixel….. sigh.

  • because_why_not

    That kid from Thailand totally looks like a reincarnation of Kim Jong Ill!

  • Kay O. Sweaver

    I find it interesting to see how society tries to mold children through the toys they’re given.

  • Christian DeBaun

    And where is your unique photo project Photo Boner?

  • Christian DeBaun

    This made an impact on me from a “haves, and have-nots” standpoint. Well done.

  • Antonio Carrasco

    Agreed. This gallery is technically proficient and well done. But this whole “human with favorite items laid out in front of them” concept has been done to death at this point.

  • photosforus

    Did these photos help you to see that?

  • Igor Ken

    this is amazing, and the pictures are very nice and powerful

  • lidocaineus

    What does that have to do with anything?

  • Dee

    I ignore many posts from this blog and all other websites i visit, reading the title is enough to decide if you want to read more or not, l see no problem if the Petapixel posts more of these projects, if you don’t like them, just ignore them, how hard is that?

  • Fel

    That if you don’t feel there’s enough creativity out there, stop hating and be creative?!?!

  • lidocaineus

    I was being sarcastic. It’s completely stupid to tell someone they can’t critique something else because they should be executing it better or more prolifically.

  • Todd

    By your own explanation, you weren’t actually being sarcastic.

  • lidocaineus


  • Norshan Nusi

    The girl with her clubs, two boys with their toy guns…

    Really makes me wonder about their future…

  • Umar Rosyadi

    Konsepnya JOSS banget..

  • Eziz

    Awesome! It would be even more awesome to track down these kids in 10-20 years time and see how their choice of favorite toys has made an impact on them. Especially, I wonder if the Ukrainian kid will end up being in a police force or the military, he looks tough.

  • Eziz

    Apparently it’s harder than clicking on the page, going all the way down and posting a negative comment :)

  • Marzia

    Love them all. Simply amazing.

  • Bsinger

    This is not a case of haves and have nots. All these children love their toys equally regardless of what or how many they have. It is mostly adults that compare their “haves” to others and find themselves wanting. In many places the kids pictured here, though they seem to have little, ARE the “haves” in the areas where they live.

  • sports, bro

    those are baseball bats

  • Michael Asgian

    This is so interesting! Thanks for doing something like this!

  • isomorphisms

    Look instead of at the toys, at the walls, ceilings, floors, feet of the children. That’s where the relevant adults’ part of the story can be seen.

  • Jan Kabili

    These kids remind me of tiny art collectors. Each one is passionate about his favorite kind of creative object.

  • Suzanne Jordaan

    I really enjoyed how the different personalities of the kids come through and what their choice of toys are.

  • Pablo

    and a ball to toss to her

  • Norshan Nusi

    Best friends then :P

  • julie

    in the country that i come from all children play with toy guns all the time and it has been like that since forever. and the most important part, when they grow up they are non violent at all, they are just happy that they had an awesome childhood .stupid americans !

  • Norshan Nusi

    I did played with toy gun before… yet ain’t violent at all. :)

  • Mick Tomlins

    Children of little means move from position to position -Wealthy children move from possession to possession. The former is creative the latter vegetative.

  • San1143

    Look at the last picture. See how she’s so untidy and her bear surprisingly clean. My guess is she never saw those toy before this photoshoot.

  • Shameme Adams

    What a FAB idea!!, poor little thing at the end though :( Chiwa, would love to send her some toys!!. The little boy from Lebanon (Taha) is gorgeous!!, I’de adopt him in a heartbeat, same with Noel from U.S.A. They’re all gorgeous though!. If I had have had mine done I’de have definitely chosen my puppet (Clifford)! and teddy (Arkie)!! to be photographed with. Love them to pieces!. x

  • Shameme Adams

    He does, all Ukrainian lads look similar though!.