Duane Michals’ manipulated the medium of photography to communicate narratives. He incorporated text as a key component in his works. Rather than serving an explanatory function, his handwritten text adds another dimension to the images’ meaning and gives voice to Michals’ singular musings, which are poetic, tragic, and humorous, often all at once. (Artist Info)
Both these photographs could have had very different meanings if they weren’t accompanied by the text.
The first image could have been an image of a woman dying in childbirth, the man in the image could have killed her, the man in the image could be the doctor. Michals’ accompanying text states that it Christ looking over the woman who has had an illegal abortion, leading the viewer to one outcome.
The same with the second image, the text below states that this is a happy and in love couple, making the viewer see only one meaning whereas the image alone could be interpreted in a different way.