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Lucas Orwig: Nature Photography

Lucas Orwig sees a hole in the sidewalk where a street sign was and notices a cluster of clovers that have sprouted, so he takes out his camera. They are perfect subjects for his photography. “I walk around my neighborhood in Jamaica Plain looking at contrasts between things that are growing and static; metals and concrete; textures and contrasts,” he said.

Born in Texas, Orwig studied comparative literature and religion at Brown University, moving to Jamaica Plain about four years ago. Orwig’s photography lessons started at home when he was a child. “I learned a lot of the basics while out with my dad, documenting nature.” He called his work “mostly a hobby that just progressed.”

His passion for photography and intimate documentation was revisited about a year-and-a-half ago. Orwig said, “The macro [close-up] shots that I have begun to show happened when my mother was sick and people would send her flowers. I started documenting the flowers and sending them out to relatives.”

Orwig’s sensitivity and attention to detail are reflected in his professional life as well. For the last two years Orwig has worked as a mentor for Friends of the Children, an organization that has a presence in many schools in Boston. Orwig said his role as mentor is “to look at a child and his or her life in its entirety—a holistic approach—building on the child’s strengths and life skills.”

Orwig expertly takes what is before him and hones in on the critical aspects to highlight. In his street photography, his close-ups are crisp yet ambiguous, changing a fully-formed tree into a leafy kaleidoscope of lines and textures. Nature becomes abstracted as roots and flowers weave between city grates and cracks, integrating plants and pavement.

This September, Orwig will be participating in his first Jamaica Plain Open Studios (JPOS). Inspired by the artwork he saw at past JPOS group shows, and at the urging of those around him, Orwig decided to submit his own work this year. He explained his artistic process as “thinking in terms of what the camera sees that I cannot see. Where can I find new perspectives? The whole process is important. You may not notice something until you actually develop and print it, and sometimes not even until you enlarge it.”

JPOS is celebrating its 15th year as the premiere annual arts event in one of Boston’s most exciting neighborhoods. JPOS showcases 220 artists at 75 sites. The event is open to the public and will take place Sept. 27 through 28 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information and to preview artists’ work, visit or call 943-7819.

JPOS is supported in part by a grant from the Boston Cultural Council, a local agency which is funded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, administrated by the Mayor’s Office of Arts, Tourism and Special Events.

The author is a volunteer with the Jamaica Plain Arts Council.

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