Photography portrays time and passage of time
I really don’t think photography is only suited to portraying time and the passage of time. It does do that, but not only that. It can also portray an emotion, opinion, place, a face, a fact, show something educational or simply show something beautiful. Sometimes an image’s subject will be more important than how it deals with the concept of time.
I think other creative art forms can deal with the concept of time as well as photography can, perhaps not with the same process or outcome but not any better or worse because of it. There are things that photography can do, like long exposures or flash, that can’t be done with other media, but there are also many things that other media can do that photography can’t; it’s really hard to compare things that are so different. Urban sketching, for example, can show the passage of time in a busy street by showing moving people superimposed over each other. Time-based media, such as film or sound, show the passage of time even more literally by being sequential and durational.
The fact that a photograph is taken at a specific time and place does influence the meaning and context of the image, but this also happens with everything else. Maybe I mentioned this before in a previous exercise, but I feel that anything talks about time and place if you only think about it; the simple fact that everything happens or is made at a particular time and place means that it will have a connection to some time and some place. Every painting, sculpture, drawing, song, building, decision, image, conversation, etc. happens at a specific time and place and this will automatically mean something and become part of that thing’s context. I know this a simplification of the original idea, but I do think about this a lot.
Perhaps really the only difference is that photography is not as open to personal representation as other art forms, such as painting, and instead shows a “realer” version of reality.