Nutty Photo Project: Locks on Toilets


For the past five years or so (with variable amounts of passion – usually low-level, when-I-can-be-bothered. When I bought an iPhone, more often), I’ve been doing an odd little photography projects titled ‘Locks on Toilets’. What is it? Well, it does precisely what it says on the tin: It’s a relatively large collection of photographs of devices that lock the toilet door so nobody can barge in on you while you’re attending to your business.

It’s an odd little project, which I came up with when I was hideously drunk one night – like all great ideas, in other words, and I just sort of continued doing it. Of course, it’s a lot more fun if it’s a collaborative project, so I hereby invite you to join in the slightly odd fun…  

So, what is this all about?

I could spin you a line about how the one thing that all humans have in common is the need to relieve themselves, and how that’s a beautiful thing. Of course, it’d be a complete load of shite (if you’ll forgive my contextually-appropriate french).

Thing is, I don’t have any idea why I’m running this project – I just know I’m having fun doing something that’s so completely and utterly pointless that it becomes awesome.

Show me some examples!

Well of course I will:


Boeing 777 somewhere over Russia.
Boeing 777 somewhere over Russia

Covent garden
Locked with a padlock!

Paddington train station, London, England
London Paddington

Portmellon, Cornwall, UK
Portmellon, Cornwall

Pub in Bath
The no-lock lock in a pub in Bath

Puzzlewood in Forest of Dean
Puzzlewood in Forest of Dean

How can I get involved?

First off, you may wish to join the Locks on Toilets group on Flickr – there’s currently nearly 450 entries there, but there’s always space for more! In the group, look at some of the submissions, and submit your own if you fancy it. The group will accept any and all submissions, but it’s cool if you, in the title, add the name and place of the establishment, and it’s cooler than a penguin’s plums if you also geo-tag the photos, so I can eventually do a mash-up plotting all the photos on a map.

Now, I can totally understand if you can’t be bothered using your main pride-and-joy flickr account to do this – I don’t do that either. My main account on Flickr – Photocritic – I keep for stuff I’m actually proud of in some capacity, and I use my alternate account – isharq for stuff which I’m not too fussed about, including this account, so if you fancy it, you can set up a second account.

Go on, it’s all just a bit of fun!

Tell me about your nutty projects

I’ve written about other weird projects before, but I’m curious… What floats your boat?

Have you got any crazy ideas / projects / things you do when you think photography is in danger of getting just a little bit too serious? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear about ‘em!