Photo of the Month (June 2024 Edition): Golden hour


Writing about the sunset is as difficult as photographing it. It’s so common, routine, banal. So certain to happen that lenses point the other way. They prefer the golden hour’s colour, the soft light, the balanced contrasts.


It’s so ephemeral, monochromatic, and punctual that some even call it “ordinary.” Sometimes they even say “today the sunset was beautiful,” as if the others were ugly.


When it touches the horizon, part of the planet cools, quiets, and hides. But there’s another part that warms and awakens. And fights to survive while it’s day.


What if the sun were like everlasting flowers*, whose golden color withstands time? In the poles, it even endures tirelessly for months. But then it needs as many months of deep sleep to recover slowly.


Resistance to time is relative. Someday, the gold of the sun and the everlasting flowers will fade forever. On that day, the lenses won’t point anywhere, there will be no contrast, and photographing the sunset, the everlasting flowers, and the landscape under the golden light will no longer be possible.


While time endures, photographing the ordinary is as difficult and beautiful as writing about it.


“Everlasting flowers” is a popular name for plants from various botanical families and is iconic in the Cerrado. In the Chapada dos Veadeiros, they are known as “chuveirinho” and as “capim-dourado” in the Jalapão. An important characteristic is that once harvested, they retain their color, making them popular for decoration and the crafting of e.g. hats and bags. In the Serra da Canastra, where this photo was taken, the species Paepalanthus elongatus, from the Eriocaulaceae family, is called “everlasting flower.” There are about 20 species of this genus only in the Canastra region, and probably many more to be described, with  some of them potentially endangered due to habitat loss.