Unlike artists focused on the rugged properties of the grand, sublime landscape, Alfred Stieglitz was drawn to the isolation of details in natural forms and preoccupied with nature as metaphor. His studies of trees allude to the cycle of life and death. Here, an old tree with tangled dead branches dominates the foreground, obscuring the young, living tree behind it. Stieglitz and his father had planted the poplars together. "My photographs," he wrote, "are a picture of the chaos in the world and of my relationship to that chaos. My prints show the world’s constant upsetting of man’s equilibrium and his eternal battle to re-establish it."