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What we really value, through the lenses of 50 photographers

New photos from around the world reveal what people really value most

In a time when many of us can’t imagine a world without smartphones and computers, credit comparison site approached 50 photographers in over 20 countries to find out more about what people around the world really value. The good news? There wasn’t a smartphone in sight. The photographers, who were contacted via a variety of freelance sites such as Fiverr and oDesk, were asked to take a photograph of what they value the most and provide a description of why it means so much to them. To showcase the photos and the stories behind them, Totally has launched an interactive online gallery: What we really value, through the lenses of 50 photographers. Items photographed include a measuring tape (David, Ohio, US), silver hairpins (Bernadette - Herts, UK), a handmade wooden pencil case (John - Ragaciems, Latvia), a Rubik’s cube (Sly - Digos, Philippines), and song lyrics (Christina, Haskovo, Bulgaria). Many of the photographers cited links with family as the reason their items mean so much to them. Others said that their item was valuable to them because it lifts their spirit and gives them confidence (‘My happy harmonica’, Ritesh - Hyderabad, India), because it reminds them of happy and carefree times (‘My rings’, Kristina - Koprivnica, Croatia), and because it represents their liberty (‘A symbol of freedom’, Whitney, Stone Mountain, United States). Perhaps most interestingly, while we saw a huge variety in terms of the objects themselves, it appears that our reasons for placing value on them are universal. Nathalie Nahai, Web Psychologist and bestselling author said: “What’s fascinating about the things people have photographed is the emotional narratives they carry. Whether a beloved childhood toy, a treasured Polaroid or a well-worn pair of hand-knitted mittens, each item tells a story of love, of loss, or of nostalgia. Many symbolise lost childhoods, shared experiences or memories of grandparents… Together, they provide a physical connection with those people or times no longer with us. The things we value most represent our passions and desires, what’s meaningful to us, and the moments we are unwilling to forget. They weave a rich tapestry of our lives and reveal hidden worlds of relationships and love.”

Notes to editors

About, launched in 2007, is the UK’s leading credit-focused comparison website which sets out to make it simpler for consumers to compare credit cards, loans and mortgages. We believe technology can drive a fairer credit market and better outcomes for consumers.

About Nathalie Nahai

Nathalie Nahai is the author of the best-selling book, Webs of Influence: The Psychology of Online Persuasion (Pearson). She’s also a speaker, trainer and CEO of

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