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The first I heard of "love locks" was when I read a newspaper report in 2010 that told of the Parisian authorities' request that people stop fixing locks to certain bridges over the River Seine. Such was the number and weight of these locks that there was a concern about safety and the effect on the city's architectural heritage. However, I read that the phenomenon dates back to the era of the First World War when "love padlocks" were fastened to a bridge in Serbia.
I spotted padlocks on the new St Botolph's Footbridge in Boston, Lincolnshire, several weeks ago. On a recent visit to the town I saw them again, not greatly increased in number, but noticeable nonetheless. They are there in all shapes, sizes and colours, some with messages written on in marker pen. I have mixed feelings about them. One part of me sympathises with the view of the authorities in Paris; they do detract from the architecture and heritage (or will do if they approach the numbers experienced by that city's bridges). But I also like the fact that people still value symbolism and symbolic acts openly expressed.
The centre of this new footbridge has a trefoil on each side, the only overt ornament of its bowstring design. Perhaps they are a nod to the Gothic architecture that towers over it. It provides a useful frame for the church tower, currently carries a few of the locks, and offers an interesting shape to the composition.
photograph and text © Tony Boughen
Camera: Sony RX100
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 10.4mm (28mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f4.5
Shutter Speed: 1/1250
Exposure Compensation: - 0.3EV
Image Stabilisation: On