Beautiful photos of cellphone masts disguised as ugly trees

Wired visits Dillon Marsh's photos of cellphone masts (badly) disguised as trees, and asks why they even bother.

“There were already a wide variety of designs by the time I started photographing,” says Marsh, who completed the project over six months in 2009. “The designs loosely mimic trees that are found in the local environment.”

Meanwhile, in the American Southwest, fledgling company Larson Camouflage was responding to similar style-sensitive network companies. Larson makes scores of different “trees” but it kicked everything off in 1992 with a naturalistic pine that concealed a disagreeable cell tower in Denver, Colorado. To dress up a cell tower in plastic foliage can cost up to $150,000, four times the cost of a naked mast. Marsh is skeptical about the need for high-tech camouflage.

“Even though the gesture is well-meaning, in many cases the result seems clumsy and unconvincing,” he says of the South African technoflora. “Most people don’t feel strongly positive or negative about them, but simply view them as a curiosity.”

Cellphone Towers Disguised as Trees Are a Puzzling Attempt at Aesthetics


  1. Ah, the old disguise-yourself-as-a-bush-to-avoid-detection trick.  Works in the movies.

    1. I was gonna say it looks like it’s been treated with Hipstamatic. I’d like to see larger versions of these images, too.

      1. “…says Marsh, who completed the project over six months in 2009.”

        Those filters are based on real cross-exposure effects. i.e. it is possible to create them without iPhone apps ;)

        1. So, ‘it’s possible’ means ‘yes, i used iphone apps’? Doesn’t matter; I really like some of his photos, and I’m interested in the details of how they were produced.

          1. IDK. Doesn’t matter. Photos are cool, I’m curious about the process, perhaps to try to recreate some for myself, with or without digital tricks like iphone apps.

  2. “Most people don’t feel strongly positive or negative, they simply view them as a curiosity.”

    The owner of an empty lot in our HOA-dominated neighborhood, tried to lease the land to AT&T, to put up one of their fake tree cell towers.  It’s the only time I’ve seen my neighbors take any collective interest in what’s going on beyond the immediate boundaries of their yards.  They were foaming-at-the-mouth angry.  They threatened to sue anyone who even thought of lowering their property values with one of those towers.  Just in case any other lot owner was getting ideas. 

    The project was dropped and the lot-owning potential leaser slunk off.

    Meanwhile, sick to death of having our calls drop, we purchased one of those signal boaster boxes.  The nearest tower is about two miles away, as the crow flies.

    1. They think that having bad cell service helps their property value? That’s…. quaint. That’s one of the first things that buyers check.

      1. The signal repeater works pretty well; I went from one bar in most of the house to five bars, even in the kitchen (the dead zone).  

        That we had to shell out the money to buy the repeater to get a strong enough signal, exemplifies the attitude of my neighbors toward any issue that does not affect them personally – ‘it’s *your* problem, *you* deal with it’.  If they seem short-sighted it’s because most of them have no intention of selling till they’re carried out on a stretcher… and they still have land lines.

    1. Maybe cover the base with an enormous hat and place an even bigger sea serpent next to it.

Comments are closed.