“It literally looks like he has the Stanley Cup on his head,” the singer has said of the photo. “It was just a big, very well-polished champagne chiller, and we were just messed one New Year’s Eve, out of our minds, and someone took that picture.”
Naturally, the appeal of Photograph is down to the song’s relatability, and exploring his hometown in the music video dredged up deep emotions in Kroeger. “I was very saddened by the way the town was disappearing,” the singer admitted, adding that, though a lot of his friends remained, “so many of the shops had closed” and “the landmarks for me were gone”.
Despite being in a nostalgic mindset when he wrote the song, Chad felt that Nickelback were in a good place as a band while working on All The Right Reasons. “Everything was just really clicking for us at that time,” he later observed, “and those songs were all just really strong songs.” What he couldn’t have predicted was how Photograph’s video would transcend the music completely as soon it found its way onto the internet.
“I think its just cool to be in a meme”
Inspiring a slew of affectionate online parodies, the picture frame Chad holds up was quickly Photoshopped to feature everything from an illustration of a naked banana to a meme comparing the singer’s hair to ramen noodles. Thankfully, the band took it all in good humour. “I think it’s just cool to be in a meme conversation,” bassist Mike Kroeger said. “It’s sort of a recognition that you’re making some waves in the culture of the time when you’re included in a meme storm.”
Photograph memes have proven so popular that, two decades after its original release, the song has taken on a life of its own. In 2020, Nickelback recorded new spoof lyrics for the tune on a Google Photos advert in which Chad Kroeger poked fun at his noodle-resembling haircut (“Is it my hair or just a ramen bowl?”) “Fifteen years ago, we had no idea that the photos on our mobile devices would become such a ubiquitous part of all of our lives,” the singer said. “We felt like it would be a fun and nostalgic way to give the song a lyrical refresh and share some of our favourite memories.”