JL: Michael is perceptively responding to the aesthetic goals of these photographers during the late nineteenth century. Steichen and Coburn both came out of the Pictorialist movement, but soon found themselves amongst a small group of European writers and photographers who were interested in capturing the inner metaphysical and symbolic world, rather than clearly defining representations of the external world. The Symbolists were reductionist in their motives. They were less interested in the details of the material world and instead interested in atmosphere, especially in the subtlety of light found in dawn and twilight. These photographers saw this time as poetic; an opportunity to describe a kind of spiritual truth, where the material is transformed into the immaterial, spurring the viewer to become more introspective. Instead of documentary objectivity, the Symbolists' goal was that of half-realization, leaving objects and shapes undefined, walking a thin line between reality and unreality.