I think none of these two answers are the ultimate answers, if a single photo can speak by itself, it is fine, but if you need several photography to illustrate a story, then it is fine as well. What really matters in the end is the result no? I mean whatever it needs to bring to your goal you will take this path, right?
I don’t believe that a single photography is better than a series, it is just different. And the opposite is true as well.
Another perspective of the problematic can be seen through photo books; by definition, it is a compilation of photos. But is it a compilation of single photos or a series of photography? I believe the truth is between the two and a mixture of the two. Photo books are the perfect medium to liberate the language of photography, by telling a story through the compilation of single photos that speak by themselves; do you follow me? What will make a great photo book, for me, is the capability to gather what Todd Hido is categorizing as a “killer” in opposition of “filler”, which doesn’t bring something to the whole story. A great story that is filled by many “little” genuine stories.
But to the era of digital world, does this problematic, and by extension, the photo books have a future? Everybody knows about facebook and instagram, I would say they are in the single type category (in case you have quality, which is barely true, they are most of the time, antagonist). You can promote your work to the world with a simple click; it is quick and easy.
But at the same time I have never felt that photo books where so alive, I have the feeling that photography democratized and paradoxally, we never saw so much books in our hands. Internet being just a platform where you can advertise your book but it will never replace it as well as the pleasure to have on a large size a real piece of paper of the photography itself. Books are the future of digital era! Can you believe that?
But let’s go back to our story. What I want to see in a book is a story; one of the best so far is the self-titled book from Shin Yanagisawa. Pictures by pictures, he’s bringing us through Japan, each pictures are telling a piece of the story but left alone, it would not say much and that for me is really magnificent, how pictures, put together can perform at once a story-telling that make yourself travel? I will always ask myself but never find the answer; it just exists, period. Don’t ask me to prove it, I will answer, just buy the book; simple as that.