Lovelocks left on the bridge at Bakewell, Derbyshire, UK

With the start of the new year, it was time to appraise my work from 2022 and generally, I was pleased with the work produced. All except my personal work which seemed to ebb away during the second half of the year. 2022 turned out to be quite slow creatively speaking for my own self-initiated photography, but there were a few glimmers of creative light. The first six months did produce some interesting images and at least one idea to expand on in the future.

A potential project is about love locks locations. Love locks appear to have a history dating back to the start of the 20th century, though it is only since around 2000 that the popularity of lock locks has picked up quite considerably.

Love lock Locations

Derbyshire and Scotland were visited in the early part of the year. Both places had very different landscapes but I came across something in both locations that I find fascinating. Love locks. In Derbyshire, I found a mass of lovelocks on a bridge in Bakewell. Almost the entire length of the footbridge was covered on both sides by lovelocks attached to the railings of the bridge. The sheer weight of all these padlocks on the bridge must be significant, indeed, in the past, many local authorities have had to remove locks placed on bridges to remove extra stress placed on the structure. The bridge in Bakewell was apparently cleared in 2018 but four years later the structure is covered with padlocks.

The second location was up at Dundee Law, a huge hill in the heart of the Scottish city with magnificent views over the River Tay and the surrounding landscape. Although the number of lovelocks was much lower than at Bakewell, the numbers appeared to be growing. All of the locks were placed with a good view from the Law. I visited on a very rainy day so the visibility was not great but the Tay bridge could still be seen crossing the vast expanse of water that is the Tay river. It seemed the perfect place to put a memorial.

So This is Permanence

Do we have much permanence in the modern world? I’d argue we don’t. Even memorials for loved ones who have died seem to be on the decline with the headstone being replaced by a silent and private location where ashes are scattered. Most of us get cremated and the use of burial plots has dropped as a result. Most of us won’t get a headstone.

The lovelocks have gained in popularity over the last two decades or so. While it may be people just following a trend, lovelocks do appear to be important for a lot of people looking for a permanent reminder of a person, relationship, family, or event. In an increasingly digital world with virtual memorials on Facebook, the lovelocks could be seen as a response to that increasing lack of physical remembrance in our lives.

Will lovelocks locations keep appearing? I think they will. Lovelocks appear to be fulfilling a need for many people. Local authorities do face the problem of increased stress on structures such as bridges etc due to the weight of a mass of lovelocks so regular clearance may be needed. However, some authorities have started adding special areas where people can add lovelocks for free or with a donation to charity.

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