Photograph

The song, “Photograph” by Ed Sheeran is part of his second studio album Multiply (X). The song was inspired by one of his ex-girlfriends and the lyrics portray a long-distance relationship. In the song, Sheeran urges his partner to look at a photograph of the two of them when things get tough and remember the good times. Throughout the song, Sheeran expresses the theme of love. He explains both the advantages and disadvantages and the impacts it has on people’s lives.

Sheeran begins the song with the lyrics: “Loving can hurt, loving can hurt sometimes”. The use of repetition in this line reinforces the idea that love is not perfect. It is much more complex than just romance. It can come with disappointment, loss of freedom, and vulnerability. It is common for love to cause pain, but it can also make you feel alive.

Loving can hurt, loving can hurt sometimes

But it’s the only thing that I know

When it gets hard, you know it can get hard sometimes

It is the only thing that makes us feel alive

He then continues the idea of love with the line: “We keep this love in a photograph”. Every photograph holds a story because they have the power to keep memories alive. The man referred to in the lyrics tells the woman that if she misses him, she can always look at a photograph of him and revive memories. Through a photograph, she will have the power to take him wherever she goes.

We keep this love in a photograph

We made these memories for ourselves

Where our eyes are never closing

Hearts are never broken

And time’s forever frozen still

This next line uses imagery in order to emphasize the idea that a man can still be in a woman’s heart forever even if he may not be present with her physically. With the use of imagery, Sheeran reveals the importance of photographs. As we keep them with us, we are able to continue living on with the memories that we created.

So you can keep me inside the pocket of your ripped jeans

Holding me closer ’til our eyes meet

You won’t ever be alone, wait for me to come home

The line “That’s okay baby, only words bleed” uses personification. By attributing human characteristics to words, it shows how words may seem painful in the moment, but that pain is temporary. Words are powerful and that unlike physical wounds, mental wounds left by words can leave a bigger impact.

And if you hurt me

That’s okay baby, only words bleed

Inside these pages you just hold me

And I won’t ever let you go

Wait for me to come home

I think the line: “Loving can heal, loving can mend your soul” is really powerful because it reveals the positive aspects of love. Although love can be heartbreaking, it can also strengthen relationships and bring happiness to one’s life. Love is a very powerful feeling because it is pure and real.

Love can heal, loving can mend your soul

And it’s the only thing that I know, know

I swear it will get easier,

Remember that with every piece of you

Hm, and it’s the only thing we take with us when we die

By using different literary devices, expressing emotions, and conveying a long-distance relationship, Photograph is a poetic song because it appeals to the listener’s emotions by presenting the overall theme of love.

6 thoughts on “Photograph

  1. Lauren d.

    I really loved this analysis of the song because I have heard this song a bunch of times and didn’t notice all these small touches in it. I like the message that even though love causes pain the good always outweighs the bad.

    Like

  2. Asta S

    I love this song and your analysis on it is very well said. I never thought about the dual effect that is used in the song where it is shown that love can both heal, and both be heartbreaking.

    Like

  3. Asta S

    I love this song and your analysis on it is very well said. I never thought about the dual effect that is used in the song where it is shown that love can both heal, and be heartbreaking.

    Like

  4. Olivia K

    This is such a sweet song. I knew that this song was generally about the highs and the lows of being in a relationship, but had no idea of Ed Sheeran’s personal connection to the lyrics. Knowing that he had just gotten out of a relationship before then makes me see the song through a whole different perspective. I understand it more now.

    Like

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