Love locks fixed to the Ponte Romana

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The photograph below is one I could stare at all day long. It’s not so much the content of the image, but the many stories behind the couples who added these padlocks, or love locks, to the bridge.

Tavira, Portugal the ALgarve, love locks, photography, professional blogger John Adams, stay at home dad, stay at home dad John Adams
A photograph taken on our recent holiday of love locks attached to the Ponte Romana in Tavira, Portugal

The image was taken on the Ponte Romana bridge in Tavira, Portugal when we on holiday in August. I knew I had it on a memory card and decided to experiment and see what changes I could make using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, software I’d not used before.

The image was taken in the harsh, midday, Portuguese sun. I’ve softened the lighting but running it through a cross process filter and this has also accentuated the padlocks, but enough of the technical stuff.

When I look at the image I can’t help wondering who placed the padlocks to the bridge. Are the couples still together? Did they get married? Were they already married? Why is that pink padlock attached to the large padlock? I imagine the answer is no, but could it symbolise some crazy polyamorous or adulterous relationship? The mind boggles.

Apparently the tradition of attaching padlocks, or love locks, to bridges is a relatively modern phenomenon. Although there’s a theory it stretches back to World War I, it didn’t really start happening in major cities until the mid-noughties. I thought it was quite harmless but it seems to have created all sorts of problems for the authorities in various destinations. Apparently the weight of love locks fixed to the Ponts des Arts bridge over the River Seine in Paris led to the collapse of a parapet.

What do you think of love locks? Are they harmless fun, or do you frown upon it? Maybe you’ve taken part in the tradition yourself.

I’ve added this picture to the #MySundayPhoto linky hosted by the Photalife blog. Do click on the badge below to visit and see amazing photography from other bloggers.

12 thoughts on “Love locks fixed to the Ponte Romana”

  1. I like to see them as it’s not something I come across very often in my day to day life, but I can imagine they would cause problems. I remember hearing in Amsterdam how abandoned bikes cause problems too – all that extra metal on a bridge.

  2. I love the colours in your pic, so rich, I like the romance behind the locks but the practical part of me thinks it’s a bit of a waste and can cause issues. #MySundayPhoto

    1. Yeah, I’m kinda happy to look at other people’s padlocks but my practical side stops me from doing it myself!

  3. Mark (TheHonestFather.com)

    I almost did this in Paris in 2005. I’m so glad I didn’t, as that was two relationships ago!

    It’s started along the pier head at Liverpool now too, at the Albert Dock. I’ll snap a picture of it next time I pass.

    I couldn’t help but laugh at the polyamorous line John haha

  4. Your photo looks great and I do think about the stories behind the locks. It’s sad that they cause so much damage though, I wouldn’t do it for that reason. There are other ways of showing your commitment to someone you love. #mysundayphoto

    1. I think there are many ways indeed. Also, on some of the more popular bridges, it must be almost impossible to find your padlock mixed in with all the others.

  5. Hi John, I’ve never seen love locks for real, but I have heard about them and I would so be like you; wondering what the stories behind the locks were. I don’t see any harm in them, but on the other hand, if they do cause damage, maybe local authorities could set up a special place just for lovelocks.


    1. Yeah, I think in some places local authorities have set up places for people to attached their padlocks. It is, as you say, the stories that would intrigue me.

    1. Well, there’s no need to go as far as Portugal. Bridges exist in Dublin, Paris and Liverpool if you wish to see this phenomenon!

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