Jacksonville Photographer’s Show Focuses On The Beauty Around Us

When Doug Ing was invited to hang his new photo exhibition in the gallery on the third floor of the Jacksonville Museum of Contemporary Art, he had no difficulty imagining what it would look like.

It turns out that Eng has been documenting exhibits at MOCA for years, taking photos of other artists’ exhibits for the museum’s archives.

“I kind of feel like this is my home, in terms of familiarity with the space,” Eng said last week as a team began hanging their photos on the gallery walls.

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Eng’s show, “Structure of Nature / Nature of Structure,” explores natural and urban landscapes, with a particular focus on trees. It didn’t start that way, Eng said. The show was meant to be a career retrospective, but he kept coming back to the tree photos in his collection – he said his wife called him a “tree photographer” – as a way to tell a story. broader about how humans interact with them. their environment.

There are solid trees and bare trees, trees in the fog, trees lined up to look like bar codes. An entire piece of the show focuses on dead and dying trees. Some are from the Florida Panhandle, where they were crushed by the hurricane winds. Others come from the Appalachians, where Eng documented the disappearance of the eastern hemlock forest, devastated by an invading insect. A third set is from the Ocklawaha River in Central Florida, where Eng took advantage of a retreat to photograph the forests of dead trees that normally lie under the waters of the Rodman Reservoir.

Jacksonville photographer Doug Eng has a background in engineering and architecture, which he says helps him look at the world around us differently.

Eng, who holds a degree in structural engineering and architecture from Cornell, said he has spent a lot of time over the past few years exploring Northeast Florida’s coves by kayak. Most of the photos on Eng’s show were taken within an hour’s drive of Jacksonville.

“People will see their own backyards,” said Eng, who lives in the Mandarin region. “I was completely amazed at what you could see in these black water streams.”

He calls it “finding the special wherever you live,” experiencing nature and paying attention to the intricacies no matter where you live. There are cityscapes in the show and photos of the entire Jacksonville area.

“I want people to leave with appreciation and awareness of where they live and what is going on,” Eng said. “You can’t get it back. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.”

Doug Eng watches Ryan Buckley install a series of photographs of Eng at MOCA Jacksonville.

Ylva Rouse, the museum’s senior curator, said she hopes Eng’s show will inspire people to stop and appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds them. “This exhibition celebrates his work as a photographer and as a curator, and highlights the precarious relationship humans have with nature and inspires us to be better stewards of the world,” said Rouse.

One thing you won’t find in Eng’s photos is the people.

“I don’t do people,” Eng said. “It’s too hard. People are fascinating, they really are. Maybe someday I will.”

The photos were all taken digitally and printed using an inkjet process. But they are not necessarily printed on paper or hung in a conventional setting. Some are attached to their frames with Velcro. Others are backlit or hung like curtains or appear to float a few inches from the wall. A long horizontal room is divided into movable panels that visitors can slide left or right to change the scene. A few are printed on some form of wallpaper which is applied directly to the gallery walls.

The show will be on view until January 30.

Doug Eng removes the tape used as guide marks around a vast panorama of tree stumps towering above the low water of Rodman Reservoir during the installation of his exhibit at MOCA Jacksonville.  It's from Eng

The museum has planned several events with Eng during the duration of the show:

• August 19: Ideas of our time: the role of mentors in artistic practice. Eng, Jim Draper and Bill Yates discuss mentoring in the arts. Release.

• September 24: Lunch and learn. Eng discusses his work over lunch. $ 15 to $ 20.

• October 9: Studio training. Explore the nature trails of the UNF campus with ing. Bring a camera.

• October 21: Social Change 101, in collaboration with the Jacksonville Public Library.

• January 8: Studio Workout: Walk the streets of downtown Jacksonville with Ing. Bring a camera.

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