A single pine in the middle of the Mojave Desert.
Palm trees adorned with strange red beacons.
A trio of cacti with green hues that seem just a little bit off.
Since the 1990s, disguised cell phone towers have become a staple of America's urban environment. Unlike power and landline companies, cell phone providers cannot resort to eminent domain. Camouflage became a tool to persuade reluctant land owners to allow the use of their property. Over time, the disguises have become more elaborate, with church crosses, water towers, and flagpoles now a part of the cell tower repertoire.
Between 2015 and 2020, the Bay Area photographer Annette LeMay Burke set out across the American West in search of those landscapes where something seems amiss. The result is presented in her beautiful new book, “Fauxliage."
Many Americans tolerate the cellular masquerade as a price of living in the digital age. But it also conceals a creeping surveillance of our movements and behavior by government and Big Tech, Burke wrote. In this context, she added, "the kitschy tower costumes seem more nefarious."
See a selection of Burke's images below.
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