Jim Lucas, a college student during the early sixties, was an outstanding photographer at a young age, having progressed from carrier boy to photographer and lab man for the local evening newspaper “The Jackson Daily News” while also documenting his years at Murrah High School and Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi.
In 1964 when the nation was focused on Mississippi and the search for three missing civil rights workers in Neshoba County, Lucas had the opportunity to meet and assist film cameramen from CBS news. Using his still camera he tried never to miss a visual story of his own and soon became a “stringer” for UPI and Time and Life magazines.
Through 1968, Jim Lucas covered local marches, pickets, planning meetings, and bombings with professional photojournalistic style. Late that year, Lucas was drafted and spent his basic training in the Army at Fort Campbell, KY, afterward with special training in the Army Signal Corps at Fort Monmouth, NJ. During his deployment in Vietnam he shot non-combat footage for the Army gaining experience and commitment for his future career as a film cameraman. In 1969 he was distinguished by the DOD as the Military Newsfilm Motion Picture Photographer of the Year.
Upon his return to Jackson in 1973 he pursued a freelance film career including commercial advertising, football filming, and newsreel work. Soon his career included television and feature film work, almost always outside of Mississippi. He became known for the excellence of his technical ability and advanced to Camera Operator and Second Unit Director of Photography. In 1980, while on location with the film “Barbarosa” he was in a fatal automobile accident.
The Lucas Collection includes an extensive number of negatives, prints, personal narratives, and a cache of memorabilia. This website is a sample of images Lucas made during the civil rights movement. It was created and curated by Jane Hearn who was married to Lucas at the time of his death and Red Morgan, photojournalist and commercial still photographer, along with web designer, Norman Rowland. Their ongoing collaboration aims to archive Lucas’ extensive collection, and pay tribute to a passionate and skillful young photographer who grasped the significance of the events around him and conveyed his point of view in sensitive visual language