Mark Byrnes is a former senior associate editor at CityLab who writes about design and architecture.
A "Where's Waldo" game that you can play on the freeway.
Today's Postcard comes from Southern California, where photographer Emily Shur has been documenting the many faces of the cell phone towers that dot the landscape.
Cell phone towers started popping up in Los Angeles in the 1990s. In Southern California, many were disguised as trees to sooth NIMBYs.
Shur, based in Los Angeles, noticed her first tree-shaped cell tower when one went up across the street from her house. She discovered more as she drove around the city. "I mostly notice them along freeways or close to a freeway," says the photographer, adding that the neighborhoods she tends to find them in "have largely been either industrial or pretty generic residential neighborhoods."
When Shur spots one of these disguised cell phone towers, she notes the freeway exit, and returns to photograph it. Though many can be spotted easily, other pursuits lead to unfruitful quests. "The worst is when we've driven great lengths to see if one was fake only to find out it's a real tree," says Shur, admitting however, "I guess in reality it's much nicer to be surrounded by real trees."
Below, photographs of Southern California's cell phone towers disguised as trees in a collection Shur named "Nature Calls":
All images courtesy Emily Shur