James Bragge

Last updated

James Bragge
Born1833
South Shields, County Durham, England
Died1908
Wellington
NationalityBritish
OccupationPhotographer
Known forCapturing a record of New Zealand during a period of the countries development

James Bragge was a well known and respected photographer in New Zealand during the mid-to-late 19th century. [1] Born in England, he moved to New Zealand when he was in his thirties. He opened a photography studio and also took photographs on travels around the country. The product of these serve as a record of the development of the country at this time.

Contents

Early life

According to Bragge's death certificate, he was born in 1833, in South Shields, County Durham, England. His father, also called James, worked as an architect. His mother’s name was Harriett (née Wigglesworth). In 1854, at the age of 21, James Bragge Jr. married Elizabeth Ann Fish. They had two daughters. He remarried in 1900, at the age of 67, to Lydia Segus Banfield, who bore him a further daughter.

Move to New Zealand

Little more is known of Bragge, but we do know that he came to New Zealand in 1865. Within a short while he had opened a photographic studio in Manners Street, Wellington. This studio was advertised as "The New Zealand Academy of Photographic Art". During his time in New Zealand, Bragge made at least two trips over the Rimutaka Range to the Wairarapa, and the Manawatu District. In 1871, he travelled with his family to Auckland. By 1879, he had returned to Wellington, and opened a studio in Lambton Quay which operated until the 1890s. The Wellington City Council commissioned Bragge to take various photographs of Wellington, for show at the Melbourne International Exhibition in 1880. He died in Wellington on 17 July 1908. [2] [3]

Career as a photographer

In his early life Bragge's profession was that of a cabinetmaker. It was only with the advancement in technology that during the early sixties he was able to engage in photography. It is difficult to ascertain how he developed his skills in photography. Similar to many photographers, he began as a studio portrait photographer. He later travelled around the lower North Island, with his darkroom contained in a horse-drawn carriage. He travelled to small towns and took photos of the locations, some including the local people. It appears that he made postcards from the photos, and sold them to the townsfolk. They in turn would send these postcards to their relative in England, as a kind-of curio of what New Zealand was like. His photographic skill is very evident in the many photos he took during the Wairarapa expeditions. William Main states in his book, Bragge's Wellington and the Wairarapa, "Street scenes of 1869 are not rare, but those filled with people are." [4] This may explain the interest in Bragge's photographs. A wide variety of his photos included people, some even believed to be of Bragge himself.

"It was 1876 when Bragge first hitched a mobile darkroom to a horse, and rode northwards toward the Wairarapa, taking photos along the way. These show places like Danniverke, Norsewood and Eketahuna, where huge tracts of land were being cleared, and roads bridges and settlements were being built. Bragge's photos were immediately popular with Wellington audiences, who saw them as representing progress. And today, they’re valuable records of settlement process." [5]

Related Research Articles

Martin Parr British photographer, born 23 May 1952 in Epsom, Surrey, UK

Martin Parr is a British documentary photographer, photojournalist and photobook collector. He is known for his photographic projects that take an intimate, satirical and anthropological look at aspects of modern life, in particular documenting the social classes of England, and more broadly the wealth of the Western world.

Mathew Brady American photographer

Mathew B. Brady was an American photographer, and one of the earliest in American history. Best known for his scenes of the Civil War, he studied under inventor Samuel F. B. Morse, who pioneered the daguerreotype technique in America. Brady opened his own studio in New York in 1844, and photographed Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, and Abraham Lincoln, among other public figures.

Martín Chambi Peruvian Photographer

Martín Chambi Jiménez, was a photographer, originally from southern Peru. He was one of the first major indigenous Latin American photographers.

Jerry Uelsmann American photographer

Jerry N. Uelsmann is an American photographer and was an early exponent of photomontage in the 20th century in America. His work in darkroom effects foreshadowed the use of Adobe Photoshop to make surrealistic images in the late 20th century, a process led by his now-ex-wife, Maggie Taylor, at that time. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1967, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1972, and the Lucie Award in Fine Art in 2015. He is a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain, a founding member of The Society of Photographic Education.

New Zealand photography first emerged in the mid-nineteenth century, and over time has become an important part of New Zealand art. A number of photography associations exist to support photographers in New Zealand.

Francis Frith English photographer

Francis Frith was an English photographer of the Middle East and many towns in the United Kingdom. Frith was born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, attending Quaker schools at Ackworth and Quaker Camp Hill in Birmingham, before he started in the cutlery business. He suffered a nervous breakdown in 1843, recuperating over the next two years. In 1850 he started a photographic studio in Liverpool, known as Frith & Hayward. A successful grocer, and later, printer, Frith fostered an interest in photography, becoming a founding member of the Liverpool Photographic Society in 1853. Frith sold his companies in 1855 in order to dedicate himself entirely to photography. He journeyed to the Middle East on three occasions, the first of which was a trip to Egypt in 1856 with very large cameras. He used the collodion process, a major technical achievement in hot and dusty conditions.

H. H. Bennett American photographer

Henry Hamilton Bennett was a photographer famous for his pictures of the Dells of the Wisconsin River and surrounding region taken between 1865 and 1908. The popularity of his photographs helped turn the city of Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin into a major tourist destination.

Volkmar Kurt Wentzel was a German American photographer and cinematographer. He worked for nearly 50 years for the National Geographic Society as a darkroom technician and photographer, and his professional and personal work was highly acclaimed. He was one of the first people to take photographs of then-little known country of Nepal, and was noted for documenting the final years of many of the traditional tribal kingdoms of Africa.

Walter B. Woodbury English inventor and photographer

Walter Bentley Woodbury was an inventor and pioneering English photographer. He was one of the earliest photographers in Australia and the Dutch East Indies. He also patented numerous inventions relating to various aspects of photography, his best-known innovation being the woodburytype photomechanical process.

James Valentine (photographer) Scottish photographer

James Valentine was a Scottish photographer. Valentine's of Dundee produced Scottish topographical views from the 1860s, and later became internationally famous as the producers of picture postcards.

Laurence Geoffrey Aberhart is a New Zealand photographer.

John Wilfrid Hinde was an English photographer, whose idealistic and nostalgic style influenced the art of postcard photography and was widely known for his meticulously planned shoots.

Alfred Henry Burton New Zealand photographer

Alfred Henry Burton is considered one of New Zealand's most important nineteenth-century photographers.

Burton Brothers (1866–1914) was one of New Zealand's most important nineteenth-century photographic studios and was based in Dunedin, New Zealand. It was founded by Walter John Burton (1836–1880) in 1866 as the Grand Photographic Saloon and Gallery and was situated in Princes Street, Dunedin.

Walter Sheffer photographer

Walter S. Sheffer was an American photographer and teacher, born in Youngsville, Pennsylvania. He moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1945 to work at the studio of John Platz, Milwaukee's main society photographer. When Platz retired, Sheffer inherited his clientele and was able to establish his own "look" and very successful portrait studio by 1953. He also taught advanced portraiture at the Layton School of Art from 1952 to 1970.

Henry Winkelmann (1860–1931) was a notable New Zealand photographer. Winkelmann's photographs covered a wide range of topics, but he is best known for his yachting photographs.

Charles Gatewood American photographer

Charles Robert Gatewood was a photographer, writer, videographer, artist and educator, who lived and worked in San Francisco, California.

Charles Alfred Woolley was born in Hobart Town, Tasmania, Australia. He was an Australian photographer but also created drawings, portraits and visual art. He is best known for his photographic portraits of the five surviving Oyster Cove Aborigines taken in August 1866 and exhibited at the Intercolonial Exhibition of Australasia colonial exhibition in Melbourne the same year.

Gladys Mary Goodall was a New Zealand photographer whose work was used for scenic postcards of the country. Her photographs are held in the collection of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and the National Library of New Zealand.

PhotoForum Inc. is a non-profit New Zealand photography organisation founded 12 December 1973 in Wellington "dedicated to the promotion of photography as a means of communication and expression," and is also the title of its magazine, first published in February 1974.

References

  1. W. Main, Bragge’s Wellington and the Wairarapa, inside sleeve, Millwood press, 1974
  2. W. Main, Bragge’s Wellington and the Wairarapa, pp. 7–19, Millwood press, 1974
  3. Nineteenth Century New Zealand Photographs, J. Turner, n.d.
  4. W. Main, Bragge's Wellington and the Wairarapa, p. 10, Millwood press, 1974
  5. http://tpo.tepapa.govt.nz/ViewTopicExhibitDetail.asp?TopicFileID=MINZ_t5#