Peter Lucas has received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship which will support The Last Hour of Summer, a feature-length documentary film about Ipanema in the early 1960s, just before the Brazilian military coup. The film focuses on a cache of found photographs in order to explore the various aestethic, cultural, political, and social dimensions of this “golden hour” before the 20-year dictatorship.
Peter Lucas is one of eight NYU professors to receive a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship this year. In total, 180 fellowships were awarded to recipients chosen from a pool of nearly 3,000 applicants. These scholars, artists and scientists were chosen because of their “prior achievement and exceptional promise,” and will carry out a diverse array of projects.
The Last Hour of Summer has its roots in a trip to a flea market in Rio de Janeiro in 2003, where Peter found and purchased 200 small black and white photos. Intrigued by the collection, which was dated 1962-63 and depicted beach scenes at Ipanema, Lucas was determined to uncover its history. He eventually identified the late photographer and has reconnected with many of the subjects of the photographs. Lucas has since purchased the remainder of the archive which will be incorporated into the film and support several narrative threads. First, because they were taken just before the repressive and violent dictatorship resulting from the 1964 military coup, the photos could be seen as capturing what many Brazilians call the “last hour” of innocence, beauty, hope, naiveté, wonder, and youth. The photos also reference the end of the era of classic black and white snapshots before the widespread introduction of Kodacolor film in 1964. Taken by Orizon Caneiro Muniz, the photographs speak to a specific moment in the history of personal photography, and also are embedded in an important cultural moment as Ipanema awaits international attention from the impending Bossa Nova movement and the influx of tourists and surfers.
Peter Lucas teaches in the Draper Program, the Department of Photography and Imaging at the Tisch School of Arts, and in the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at NYU. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of International Education at NYU in 1996. His teaching focuses on international human rights with an emphasis on media, documentary practice, human rights and photography, the poetics of witnessing, human rights education, and youth media. View more of Peter Lucas’ work on his website.
Posted by Christine Mladic – Program Administrator at CLACS at NYU