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.