My project, Fauxliage, documents the proliferation of disguised cell phone towers in the American West. For me, the fake foliage of the trees draws more attention than camouflage. Initially cell towers were considered an eyesore and plastic leaves were attached in an attempt to hide them. Today, cellular service is ubiquitous and we all want five bars, yet the disguises remain. Current towers are designed to look like more than just palms and evergreens; they can pose as flagpoles, crosses, water towers, cacti, and more.
I was initially drawn to the towers’ whimsical appearances, and then felt disconcerted that technology was clandestinely modifying our environment. The unsophisticated disguises belie the cellular equipment's nefarious ability to surveil all the calls passing through.
I explore how this manufactured nature is creating a newly accepted aesthetic in our neighborhoods. My photographs expose the towers’ idiosyncratic disguises, highlight the variety of forms, and show how ubiquitous they are in our daily lives.
Perhaps future generations will consider this charade as normal, or perhaps the masquerade is fleeting and will be considered an anachronism of the early 21st century.