It was around the age of about five that James Bugg first recalls handling a camera. My sister and I would make terrible quality documentaries about the different plants in our garden,” he says. ”My shaky, often easily distracted video footage was hard to watch.” But then, he’s always been interested in documenting things. The Melbourne-based 22-year-old emerging photographer is a recent graduate from Photography Studies College, where completed the Bachelor of Photography course, with a major in documentary. “I’m interested by the places that begin to drift to the edges of society,” says Bugg.
With the majority of his work revolving around people, place, and circumstance, Bugg is currently focusing on projects that document Australian subcultures. These projects are typically long-term, and blend with Bugg’s slow approach, from his desire to capture everything on medium format film to his patience to document his subjects over extended periods of time. “I’ve got a lot of projects that are still just ideas in their early stages, so I’m really looking forward to getting out and putting some time into them,” says Bugg. Projects such as The Moods of Ginger Mick and The Pines capture the essence of living on the fringes of Australian society.
Bugg’s career highlight to date was winning the $50,000 Moran Contemporary Photographic Portrait Prize earlier this year. In 2018, he was also named a finalist for the Australian Photobook of the Year. Last year, he received the Best Portrait award at the CCP Salon, in Melbourne.