The Big Reveal

Me and a Tree © The Husband

The project I have been working on for the last half a year is tentatively titled “Fake Plastic Trees”, and the above shot is of your truly working hard this past holiday weekend. It’s interesting how things naturally evolve. What started as a way to keep my mind off of things that were bothering me, has now become a project I actually love and care about.

A quick history of me for any new readers: I never shoot in project form. I shoot situations and places as I see them, and then I edit the work into groups of images that illustrate some sort of emotional connection I feel or felt with the subject matter. My husband sensed some boredom and dissatisfaction with the state of my work, both personally and professionally, and suggested I start a project in efforts to push myself out of the rut. After many vetoed suggestions, I considered one idea he had which was shooting the very odd cell phone towers (that seem to be everywhere in Southern California) disguised as trees. This one appealed to me because I could incorporate the subject matter into how I normally like to shoot. So, it was different for me, but not too different.

The technical stuff: As of now, I have shot about 30 or so cell phone towers. Everything is 4×5, color neg. It’s pretty much straight up classic landscape photography. Some are sweeping and some are more detail oriented. Over time, the project has evolved into a study of the possible future landscape. It’s raised questions for me that involve what the future will look like and what technology has meant for my generation specifically. When I was a kid, there was no Internet, no cell phones, no digital photography. My generation has seen technology explode into the basic necessity it is today.

Using the phone as an example: When I was little we had a rotary phone on the wall. Then we got a push button phone, and I think after that a cordless push button phone. Next came call waiting. Woah. In high school and college, I had a pager. Yes, seriously. I can’t quite remember when I got my first cell phone. I think it was sometime in college, maybe about half way through. Today cell phones are essentially small computers that fit in our pockets. I haven’t had a land line or “home phone” in about five years. I, along with millions of others, completely rely on my cell phone and am pretty lost without it. And now we are at the point where our landscape is having to accommodate and change for our compulsions. I never paid much attention to these cell phone towers before I started shooting them. There was one near my house I saw all the time, but that was about it. I now spot new ones almost everyday. What was non-existent to me six months ago, is now something I can’t help but notice everywhere I go. Pretty interesting.

So, that’s that. I’m still working on it. I plan to put together an edit of the best of what I have so far, and make those all pretty before I show any to anyone. The goal is a gallery show. Hopefully 2010 will be my year.

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