This kind of vernacular photograph often has a strange appeal that can be hard to pin down. I find them very enjoyable when executed as well as this one (usually they're not). It invites me to propose to my self a variety of story lines from political statements all the way to simple visual curiosity. There's a lot of ways this photograph would not work. The obvious being say, harsh flat lighting, or poor exposures. But, none of that is here. So, mostly the technical matters can be dispensed with.
There's just enough elements to work with for a composition. Too much would be clutter, too little would provide no context for the subject. The pipe exists in a formal arrangement of mechanics that can even evoke visions of a poised canon - if even a water canon - and for all I know that's what it was. It has structure, form and design, and therefore lends itself to study. The photograph encourages that.
I always ask, 'can beauty be just as well in the mundane?' And I think when we don't name the objects as we look, we can see through the names to the underlying reality. Is this any more or less beautiful than the oft photographed tree trunk lying askew in the misty wood? (e.g. is this our new nature?) I enjoy the formality of the white prop-stone (reminiscent of a grave stone), and it happens to be a convenient place to project a nice shadow, and show the light source.
I think it is successful. I might quibble on personal taste about the contrast in the ground material and a some things like that, but that's the photographer's preference, of course, and doesn't make a difference here. An enjoyable photograph.