As someone whose imagination has always been sparked by moments frozen in time, I really like when the subject of photography is brought into song lyrics. When done well, the composer brings across that bittersweet feeling viewing life held static while the clock resolutely ticks on; when done poorly, the song becomes maudlin or trite. Here are ten of my favorite "picture" songs, with The Kinks clearly winning the event. Please to enjoy!

This was one of those songs where I would drop EVERYTHING I was doing when it came on the radio and run over and press my head against the speaker. I LOVED it, and it's still one of my all-time faves. The lyrics are rather trippy, yes, but when taken overall they paint a creepy-cool tale of a desperate man haunted by a girl whose face he sees everywhere he looks. The matchstick men? I think that's the acid kicking in.

Camper Van Beethoven did an excellent cover of this in the '80s with a monstrous booming bass and drums, cleverly replacing  the sitar-y guitar lead line with violin. But the original still edges that out for me, with this crunchy guitar stereo version replacing the wah-wah mono single as my pick.

Thee Oh Sees, "Hang A Picture" (2012)

A fuzzy sweet shuffle from a band better known for their explosive live shows, I love this for it's open-air singalong, kick-a-can feeling. And I love that this is a band who can be that multi-faceted.

The Beatles, "A Picture of You" (1962)

Hang in there with me with the sound quality on this one -- this is a very early live recording of the Beatles on the BBC in 1962, and sounds like it was recorded by a fan off the radio. It's a cover of fellow Liverpudlian Joe Brown's UK hit from the same year, which is a pretty straight-ahead Everly Brothers/Carl Perkins hillbilly pop style. There's something about the Beatles' version that I find so charming, from John and Paul's steady "ooh" harmonies, George's enthusiastic lead vocals and crisp twangy guitar, and a slight minor tinge that gives the song a sadder feel than Brown's recording.

The Who, "Pictures Of Lily" (1967)

I didn't get the full meaning of the narrators' STRONG INTEREST in the pictures of long-deceased lovely Lily, because: 1. I was way too young, and; 2. I am a girl. You gotta give it to these guys; it took real balls to release a song about wanking and expect it to be a hit in 1967. It was!

BONER-OUS EXTRA! Here's a video of The Who recording "Pictures of Lily!"

The Len Price 3, "Pictures" (2011)

A modern-day British band who know a thing or two about The Who is The Len Price 3, with a story about a nefarious photographer. P.S. I MADE THIS VIDEO!

Howlin' Wolf, "I Want Your Picture" (1952)

"Baby, this picture's a thrill to me..." I think ol' Howlin' Wolf has something in common with those Who lads, oh yes I do.

Annette Hanshaw, "If I Had A Talking Picture Of You" (1929)

Oh oh oh, how I love Annette Hanshaw's voice. She sounds like she's singing right next to me, so sweet and warm, with a little bit of husky smoke in her lovely tone. It makes me a little emotional to listen to this, thinking both my parents were young children in 1929, and how different the world was.

The Kinks, "Pictures In The Sand" (1968)

It's an easy transition to The Kinks from Ms. Hanshaw, especially when the next song is this one, a total nod to vaudevillian days, and romance with not the slightest trace of salacious intent. Kind of the anti-Who, ha.

The Kinks, "Picture Book" (1968)

The Kinks, "People Take Pictures Of Each Other" (1968)

Ray Davies had pictures and photographs on his mind a lot in 1968, it seems. These two, both featured on the brilliant "The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society" album, should be considered companion songs, with their jaunty music and surprisingly wary, downbeat lyrics. Something that made Davies shoot way, way ahead of his songwriter peers of the time was his singular ability to express feelings beyond his maturity or scope of experience. Only 24 years old at the time and in the flowering bloom of hippies, mods, revolution, and cultural upheaval, here he was, staring at old photographs, chiding them for being cheap sentiment provokers, bringing uncomfortable reminders of far happier days. Both of these songs had a massive influence on me as a child. I had never before considered his position, but never, ever forgot it.