Memory is the only paradise I can't be expelled from.

What is materialism worth? And - what really counts in life? These questions are answered by people aged 64 to 98 marked by experience. They are photographed with the object that was closest to them at the time the photo was taken.

The photo project "What really counts" came into being in cooperation with Lebensherbst e.V., an association for the support of senior citizens needing care, whose patron is the German actress Mariella Ahrens.

For 96-year-old Emilie, a photo is her most important object, for Herbert, 80 years old, a rocking horse is what really counts, and the 86-year-old Anna is portrayed with a bouquet of red roses. In addition to a brief profile, a personal story for each photo tells what connects the senior citizens with their chosen object. With their stories, older people give an insight into their personality.

Showing people who live outside the perceptible society, people who at this phase of their life are closer to the past than the future – this is the goal for this photo project. The lives of the people in the photos are marked by experiences and encounters that every generation after them will know only from history books. The objects that are close to their hearts clearly symbolize this. The tree whose growth can be seen on the starting page of this website also has symbolic character. With its colorful leaves, it is already in the third season – the "autumn of life" – just like the people in the portaits.

Take time to read the many moving stories. And think with me for just a moment about what really counts in our lives.


to all participating seniors
to Sabrina Abraham

Participants of the project

Concept and Photography

Tom Abraham

Cooperation Partner

Lebensherbst e.V.:

Mariella Ahrens

Petra Krötzsch

Project Partner

Seniorenzentrum Hagenbeckstraße gGmbH Hamburg, Germany
Margarete Kazor and all assistants

Caritas-Altenstift Vinzenz-von-Paul-Haus Mettmann, Germany
Roland Spazier and all assistants

Evangelische Altenhilfe Wald gGmbH Solingen, Germany
Susanne Lucas and all assistants