There is a well known saying that can be traced backed to Aristotle, “… the totality is not, as it were, a mere heap, but the whole is something besides the parts …”
I often think of photography this way. There are well known photographers who have produced some great, singular, iconic images. Their images stand great on their own, even if you have to know some of the context of when and where they were taken to appreciate their greatness. Photojournalists and news editors of years gone by had to be ruthless in culling their photographs to find that one iconic image that summed up a complex story in a simple way. There was simply no room for more than one photograph in a news story.
But then came Time, Life, National Geographic and the other great photo magazines of the 20th Century. Now there was room to tell a story through a collection of images—a photo essay. A streak of ruthless editing was still required to make sure the photos would fit together. But suddenly different types of images could be seen, because each photo didn’t need to tell the whole story on its own. Each could tell a small part of a much bigger story. And the whole was greater than the sum of the parts.
This is the type of storytelling I prefer. There is nothing wrong with a single iconic image, which can look fabulous on your wall as a statement piece. But a collection of images from a particular time and place can transport you somewhere else, telling a much richer and more nuanced story. A story about who was there and the relationships between them and how they behaved and what the weather was like.
So here is my story about Jimmy and Kate. A story about two people who found each other, fell in love, and decided to come together in front of their close friends and family. Because the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.