Spencer Harding

Spencer Harding is a photographer born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. From an early age he was taught the value of retreating frequently from the city in order to keep ones sanity. During and after his education in CSU Long Beach’s BFA photography program he would evoke this spirit of running away. His long term portraiture project “To Everyone Who Hoped It Might Be True” dealt with the ephemeral nature of interpersonal encounters on the road. His latest project “The Long Lines” tracks down the derelict remains of the once great microwave relay network that connected our country coast to coast for the first time. Spencer can currently be found pouring over film scans in the Bay Area resting his feet until summer calls him away again.

"Topanga Ridge” 2014

“Topanga Ridge” 2014

“Gustine” 2014

“Gustine” 2014

“High Vista” 2014

“High Vista” 2014

“On September 4, 1951 Harry Truman gave a speech in San Francisco which would be broadcast countrywide via AT&T’s new microwave relay system. From that date until the late 1980s our country’s long distance phone calls and television would be transferred through this massive network of thousands of microwave relay towers.

“Glamis" 2014

“Glamis” 2014

“Cottonwood” 2014

“Cottonwood” 2014

“Lucerne Valley” 2014

“Lucerne Valley” 2014

Today these towers sit mostly derelict in the twilight of their existence, in the shadow of newer fiber optic technology. Many sites are too expensive to destroy and/or retrofit while others are strategically unadvantageous for modern communications.

“West Sacramento” 2014

“West Sacramento” 2014

“Round Top” 2014

“Round Top” 2014

“Chopped Wave Guides” 2014

“Chopped Wave Guides” 2014

They stand as landmarks to the rampant fear of a nuclear armageddon during the Cold War with foot thick concrete walls, copper shielding, and underground bunkers. A large majority of the towers are now owned by American Tower, while a handful are owned and renovated by a small group of enthusiasts.

“Discarded Reflectors” 2014

“Discarded Reflectors” 2014

“Santa Maria” 2014

“Santa Maria” 2014

“Tuscan Butte” 2014

“Tuscan Butte” 2014

This series is by no means a complete documentation of the system but, a large portion of the remaining intact to semi-intact towers in California. I have chosen to focus on the towers that have not had their reflector horns torn down as they are the aesthetic emblem of this network.”

“Santa Ynez” 2014

“Santa Ynez” 2014

“Lodi” 2014

“Lodi” 2014

“Chico” 2014

“Chico” 2014

To view more of RaMell’s work please visit his website.



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Photo Credit : Céline Clanet



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