Meaning of Photographer – Def Leppard

The song “Photograph” (“Photography”) from the album “Pyromania” became the first real hit of the British rock band Def Leppard. She rose to the top of the charts in different countries, sounded from all radios and captivated the audience of the MTV channel.

The story of “Photograph” began with the line “all I’ve got is a photograph” (“all I have is a photograph”). The phrase came to the mind of producer John “Mutt” Lang, who took an active part in composing new tracks. Then the idea arose to write a song about a guy hopelessly in love with a girl who did not have reciprocal feelings for him.

There is a legend among Def Leppard fans that “Photograph” is dedicated to Marilyn Monroe. A popular myth was born thanks to a video clip in which a photo of the actress appears and there are other allusions to her work. Knowing this, the band members themselves often remembered the incomparable Marilyn before performing the composition at concerts.

But Joe Elliott claimed that “Photograph” had nothing to do with her:

I don’t want to break anyone’s heart right now, but Marilyn Monroe was just another regular actress to me. A song about the one who was left out of work. “All I have is a photograph, but that’s not enough.”


He also said that the composition is “about what you can never get.”

The song was released as the first single from the album “Pyromania” (1983). It topped the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks and peaked at number twelve on the Hot 100.

The music video for “Photograph” was directed by David Mallet. Filming took place in early December 1982 in London. According to Elliot, the members of Def Leppard had no idea what to do, so the director directed the whole process to the smallest detail.

The video was actively played on the MTV channel, which opened in 1981, which helped make the song a real hit. Joe Elliot recalled:

She has achieved such success thanks to MTV. When people across the States began to install cable TV, a fledgling MTV flew out of the nest. We got a fantastic response from the people who watched it. [клип] on MTV and then asked radio stations to play the track. The two began to respond wisely to mutual requests, and everyone just went crazy with the song.

In 2009, VH1 included it on their list of the greatest hard rock songs.

A popular cover version of “Photograph” was recorded by Carlos Santana and Chris Daughtry.

Interesting Facts

  • The song is featured in several computer games, including GTA V (Los Santos Rock radio station) and Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock.
  • The “Photograph” video is found in two versions, which differ slightly in the opening frames.
  • In 1973, Ringo Starr recorded the song “Photograph”, dedicated to a similar topic, which worried the band members. But they decided that no one would pay attention to it.
  • Nickelback also has a song called “Photograph”.

Photograph lyricsPhotographer lyricsI’m out a luck, out a love
Gotta photograph, picture of
Passion killer, you’re too much
You’re the only one I want to touch
I see your face every time I dream
On every page, every magazine
So wild and free so far from me
You’re all I want, my fantasy
There is only a photograph, a snapshot
Passion killers, this is too much
You are the only one I want to touch
Every minute your face appears in my dreams
On every page of every magazine
Delightful and laid-back, so far away from me
You’re all I want, my fantasy Oh, look what you’ve done to this rock ‘n’ roll clown
Oh oh, look what you’ve done
Oh look what you’ve done Photograph I don’t want your
Photographer I don’t need your
Photograph all I’ve got is a photograph
But it’s not enough
I don’t need your photo
A photograph, all I have is a photograph
But that’s not enough I’d be your lover, if you were there
Put your hurt on me, if you dare
Such a woman, you got style
You make every man feel like a child, oh
You got some kinda hold on me
You’re all wrapped up in mystery
so wild so free and far from me
You’re all I want, my fantasy
Hurt me if you dare
Such a woman, you have so much charm
Next to you men are like children
You have some power over me
You are shrouded in mystery
Delightful and laid-back, so far away from me
You are all I want, my fantasy

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