The ol' tell a story or not debate. A photograph can help illustrate a story; a story can be contrived from viewing a photograph, but a photograph, by itself, generally does not convey enough context for it to be considered narrative.
What narrative that presumably exists, even if it seems obvious, still largely depends on assumption for development, as in assumption about the viewer's preexisting knowledge of the photographed event and the viewer's assumption about what has actually occurred in the photo.
When someone is trying to present a story, a series of photographs, such as in a pictorial, can guide a storyline, but even these essays typically requires text for the thorough understanding of the facts.
Where it gets complicated, though, is that the image or images presented, even without all the facts, might still effectively convey a message or reaction despite certain ambiguities surrounding the basics: Who, What, Where, When, or Why.
Look at Larry Burrow's superb "Yankee Papa 13" photo essay: http://life.time.com …ment/wp_yankeepapanew004/
If you just look at the photos in the series, you may or may not know that it is taking place in Vietnam; you may or may not know that the photos center on Americans; you may or may not know that the event occurred in the 1960s. You may or may not know why the event is taking place.
But of course, the photos (or even one) can still have marked impact or meaning, depending on the viewer...and that might be the photographer's only intent. Even so, written facts provide more clarity, offering even greater context to the loss and disillusionment involved, as well as reducing potential erroneous assumptions. (Note: in this linked series, the face of the killed pilot was obscured in post to conceal his identity when originally published; another concern about relying on photos to tell stories).
But having been in these discussions before, there will be entrenched disagreement. A PHOTO CAN TELL A STORY!!! Fine. But what is not fine is any argument that states that a good photograph MUST ABSOLUTELY ALWAYS tell a story or a good photo should NEVER need explanation (i.e. captions, article...). I'm not saying that anyone has made these contentions in this thread, but I've come across them in the past.