Invasive Species, a series by photographer Dillon Marsh, documents cell phone towers in tree disguises.

As we see, it’s hardly a one-size-fits-all affair.

Some have a messy tuft of needles at the top.

Others don’t have any vegetation at all.

There are palms ….

… conifers …

… and I-don’t-even-know-whats.

Still, all that variety doesn’t mean that they’re expertly camouflaged.

"I only came across one that was the same height as the trees around it," Marsh says. "The rest were very easy to spot due to their exaggerated height."

Yeah, you’re not fooling anyone, buddy.

Cape Town, where Marsh shoots, has a rather complex history with these things. The first tree tower, a palm, was installed in the city in 1996.

"Even though they are not really that convincing," he says, "I do appreciate the well-meaning intentions."

Co.Design

Pics Of Silly Cell Towers Dressed Like Trees

Dillon Marsh photographs cell phone towers in disguise, in and around his native Cape Town.

In many parts of the world, a cell phone tower is a necessary evil--a man-made eyesore in the middle of an otherwise relatively pristine natural environment. To combat this disparity, many new towers today are installed wearing a semi-convincing tree disguise.

In his series Invasive Species, photographer Dillon Marsh studies the wide variety of fake-tree cell towers on display in Cape Town, South Africa, and the surrounding countryside. And there’s a surprising richness to be found in all the fake, reception-giving vegetation.

In part, that has to do with Cape Town’s rather complex history with the things. The first tree tower, a palm, was installed in the city in 1996. Subsequent designs are mostly conifers--one stumpy, leafless trunk is a notable exception--though even among this needled sub-group, each has its own personality. Some have branches that shoot proudly upward where others droop. Some are thick with foliage, others sparse. The trunk colors cover a range of browns.

Still, all that variety doesn’t mean that they’re expertly camouflaged. "I only came across one that was the same height as the trees around it," Marsh says. "The rest were very easy to spot due to their exaggerated height."

With their subterfuge so plain for all to see, the disguised towers are sort of endearingly pathetic when you encounter them in the wild. But you have to appreciate the sentiment nonetheless. Trees are nice to look at. Cell towers are not. Marsh, a lover of the natural world, agrees. "Even though they are not really that convincing," he says, "I do appreciate the well-meaning intentions."

See more of Marsh’s work on his site.

[Hat tip: Wired]

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8 Comments

  • Irene Velveteen

    I've never actually seen these before.. here in Down Under, we pretty much tell it like it is.
    It's a kind of cool idea, and I like the idea too. Having not seen them in person though, the tackiness doesn't really come across.
    I wonder what other things we can make from them?Just for fun

  • artdrectr

    It's an interesting design problem: They have a limited amount of 'pieces' to work with that need to attain a certain height above other structure. 
    Like using your plastic xmas tree to hide the sat dish on your roof.

  • Marc

    sure when you focus on it they look odd.

    but
    I wonder how many i have driven past today and not noticed......

  • Marc Riesenberg

    Nice photos, but it's strange to me that somebody just now thought they were worth shooting. These camouflaged cell towers have been around since the mid-90s.

  • Mark Rojas

    As you said in the end of the story. At least they are trying. otherwise it would just be a big silver eyesore... now its an eyesore disguised as a tree.

  • Whea7

    The one on the right is down the road from my house.   It is, quite frankly, an insult to trees and everything with eyes.