This is the last photograph in Szarkowski's book on Atget. He essentially sees it as the apogee of all Atget's work. In his "meditation" on this picture he says in part:
Originally Posted by rfshootist
"One might think of Atget's work at Sceaux as a recapitulation in miniature of all his work on the culture of old France, a record of the deminishing souvenirs of a foreign country.
Or, one might think of it as a summation and the consumate acheivment of his work as a photographer - a coherent, uncompromising statement of what he had learned of his craft, and how he had amplified and elaborated the sensibility with which he had begun.
Or perhaps we might see the work at Sceaux as a portrait of Atget himself, not excluding petty flaws, but showing most clearly the boldness and certainty of his taste, his method, his vision. (He felt he had a kiship with trees) At sixty eight, at seven o'clock on a gray March morning, he may have felt a special kinship with this particualr pine - a tree scarred by life and slighted by time, eccentric but still vital and compelling - which should be photographed perfectly, in a way that would match, or echo, its own unrepeatable beauty..."