Quote Originally Posted by blansky
But I still hold that if an individual picture can't stand up, then laying a story line around it, is just a crutch and the photograph fails. If that is the case then the photographer should take up cinematography, because the failures should end up in the garbage can and not the background for a series of mediocre pieces to a whole.

that seems to imply that all photographs can only be viewed individually and in isolation? Because as soon as you put two or more pictures together in any kind of sequence - even if they aren't directly related to each other - they have an effect on each other. Whether in a display, book, magazine or whatever.

As soon as you have more than two or three pictures together, intentionally or unintentionally, there is a narrative, even if we don't want it. What you call mediocre pieces are often required as pause or counterpoint or rhythm or echo. You can do this consciously - as in designing a book or gallery or museum display. Or you can ignore it and hope everything doesn't clash - which rarely happens.

The sum of the whole is usually greater than all the parts.

Only if every photograph is only ever meant to be viewed in isolation(and I'm not sure how you even do that?) can each picture really be required to "stand up on it's own" in the way you seem to describe?

The expressive nature of any photogrpah more often than not does depend on context. The more shared the context the more more readily that that expressive nature is received and responded to.

Most people here, in the case of this photograph, have provided their own context - that of having female children, of growing up in the USA or N America, of the pressures of consumer society, of weddings, of photogrpahing children such as this. And they have easily fitted the photograph into these experiences and provided a context. Those seem to have been balanced against anything that might be lacking in the formal qualities of the photograph.

This photograph really only seems to "stands on it's own" as a photograph because of it's broadly shared context with thisd group of viewers.

Taken out of context, it's not that great a photograph at all. In context, it's brilliant