Well, never thought I’d end up in the G&N Talk forum, but got linked this way via another new thread.
Anyway, yes, as has been said, photographs do not tell stories.
Context and narrative are too abysmally thin. To be sure, photographs can certainly spur an emotive reaction despite the actual dearth of facts provided by the photograph itself. And in many cases, that’s all that matters anyway.
Still, photographs by themselves are inherently deceptive, demanding assumptions without fully offering anything definitive…I suppose a counterpoint would be “Have you read Naked Lunch.”
And yes, as others have noted, photographs can illustrate a story, and they can do so in brilliant fashion. However, text is generally required to articulate the actual elements of the story: the who, what, when, why, where, and how.
Photos that inspire one to fabricate their own story are nonetheless not telling the story. I can look at a doorstop and create a very fantastical story should I be so motivated.
But should one truly believe that photos can and do tell stories, I’m not going to throw a whole lot of effort to convince one otherwise. But even if I’m wrong, and photographs can be masterful authors, I will still staunchly assert that a photograph does not need to “tell a story” to be great, or good, or even passable.
It's early; I'll reread this later to see if it's legible.