Babies have no concept of what is a toy and what’s not. Sunlight shining through leaves, as seen from a moving stroller, can be just as interesting to them as an expensive toy bought from a store.
The first time I found a baby’s toy lying in the street, I wondered if it was really lost or if it had been discarded deliberately.
Over time, after finding several toys in the streets of different cities and countries, I started to believe that babies were throwing toys out of their strollers on purpose. And that with fewer toys they were actually much happier.
To a baby, the world changes rapidly. At birth, everything is a blur, with their visual acuity around 5% of that of an adult. But by the age of six months, babies have more or less adult levels of colour acuity.
The use of bright, highly saturated colours is a popular mass marketing technique. This is because bright colours attract the eye. And children tend to like bright colours even more than adults do.
Modern toys are also designed with bright colours, to increase the child’s attention span and nervous system development at the early stage of life. But do babies really need these kinds of toys any more?
Nowadays, people of all ages, especially children, are already heavily exposed to and surrounded by all kinds of visual stimuli, at home and elsewhere. From video displays to artificial lights, from escalators to cars and traffic lights, shop windows, and advertising, the result is that we all live in an over-stimulated society.
Recent research has shown that over-stimulation can lead to anxiety, insomnia, headaches, and stress. Instead of a toy designed to further stimulate our attention and senses, how can we offer some time for reflection and contemplation?
Thus was born Toys for Us, a series of babies’ toys painted in plain white, to calm down the senses and relax the vision of your little ones, as well as you.
All images Digital C-print, 60 x 60 cm, edition of 5 + 1 AP
The images that can be seen on the internet are only a part of the series.