You’ve all seen them. One lone spectacle of arboreal majesty, towering above the treeline as you drive down the highway. It’s only when you get closer (though not too close, because the disguise is not so good) that you realize the impressive tree is nothing more than a cell phone tower with some rudimentary camouflage, meant to blend into its surroundings, but actually sticking out more for their poor attempt at blending in.
Dillon Marsh, a South African photographer, has created a photo series of the incongruous pieces of infrastructure. They’re from various places around that country: Durbanville, Paarl, Stellenbosch, Eerste River. Amazingly, it seems as though the problem is even worse there: the giant trees are made even more surreal by their total misplacement.
Marsh says he became “intrigued by [their] peculiar nature” after a tower went up near where he grew up. Then he started seeing more of them, and he became hooked:
“In 2009, when I came across another one, I decided to track down and photograph as many of them as I could find around Cape Town. This proved to be way more than I expected and in the end I decided to limit the series to 12 photos so that I could concentrate on new projects.”
Wired has more on the history of towers-as-trees. Some of the first examples appeared in the U.S. Southwest in the early 1990s, made by a company called Larson Camouflage. Another photographer, Robert Voit, has snapped trees-masts in Portugal, Italy, and other places. His images are pretty interesting, too.