Edwards describes photographs as “visual incisions through time and space” - exact recreations of a very minute slice of the world made still. At the same time, Edwards points out that images, in contrast to film, contain a “leveling equivalence of information” which prevents images from taking on a single meaning. Edwards believes images represent a single instant of the photographer’s lived experience that both has the capacity to tell a personal story, but also evade a single literal interpretation. After reading the excerpt, I realized that photography is exactly the limiting case of show-don’t-tell storytelling.

Whenever I see a particularly moving picture I get to put myself in the shoes of the photographer, and try to understand how they feel about it. But at the same time, photographs leave room for viewers to interpret the situation as if the viewer was the photographer themself. Sometimes these photos can accumulate meaning and grow into a “grand narrative”, and other times they are just slices taken out of everyday life.