Fauxliage – Disguised Cell Towers of the American West

My project, Fauxliage, documents the proliferation of disguised cell phone towers in the American West. The fake foliage of the trees draws more attention than camouflage. For me, they are screaming to be noticed. This strange array of palms, evergreens, flagpoles, and crosses has been growing in my area in recent years. But why are they disguised? Why the ruse? They are part of the built world; why are they treated any differently than other utility towers or telephone poles? These towers are often found in aesthetically unappealing areas, like bordering freeways or in industrial parts of town. The disguise increases their cost, and they are often found near "naked" cell towers. Concealment alone does not fully explain their existence.

I was initially drawn to their whimsical appearance, and then felt disconcerted by how this technology was clandestinely modifying our environment. Perhaps future generations will consider this charade as normal, or perhaps the masquerade is fleeting as we adapt to an emerging technology and it will soon disappear.

I explore how this manufactured nature is creating a newly accepted aesthetic in our neighborhoods. My photographs expose the towers’ idiosyncratic disguises and highlight the variety of forms.