James Bragge

County Durham, England, 1833-1908

James Bragge

James Bragge was a Wellington-based photographer in the mid- and late-nineteenth century, best known for his landscape and panoramic work. Bragge emigrated to South Africa in the 1850s and to New Zealand in the mid-1860s, where he established a photographic studio in Wellington. Perhaps Bragge’s most notable accomplishment was the series of photographs which he sold in album form as Wellington to the Wairarapa, which documented a series of journeys through the region in 1876 and 1878, using a mobile darkroom. In 1879, on behalf of the Wellington City Council. Bragge prepared a series of large scale plates showing views of the city for the Sydney International Exhibition. Bragge’s accomplishments are all the more impressive considering that he worked using the wet-plate collodion process, which required that the glass negative be prepared, exposed and developed within ten to fifteen minutes. Bragge’s work is an important document of the changing landscapes of nineteenth-century New Zealand, and the role played by technology and industry in opening up the country. A number of Bragge’s prints and negatives are held in the collection of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

Auction Results

Manawatu Gorge Bridge

1878

albumen silver print

220mm x 291mm

Achieved $1,021.06

Taupo Road/Ruapehu

c.1876

albumen silver print

212mm x 288mm/183mm x 280mm

Achieved $180.19