Head Above Water is a body of photographic work by local artist Ben Bugden. It aims to document his relationship with the ocean as not only a lifelong companion, but also as a place of healing and reflection.
“Being born and raised in Byron, the ocean and the lifestyle surrounding it have been pivotal in shaping me as a person. In my imagery I want to capture a tactile, emotional and textural representation of my relationship with it.
As a surfer the ocean has always been my place of recreation, but it is also much more than that. For me it is my place to escape, reset and relax when anxiety, stress or grief visit.
Floating alone out there. Free. Silent. Just a head above water. It brings me a sense of peace and calm like no other. I’d love it if people are able connect with that through my work and feel it too. For me, creating these images is as much a form of self-administered therapy as it is photography.”
Watch the ocean for long enough and you’ll realise it’s a place that has as many complex nuances and moods as humans do. Darkness, light, peacefulness and rage, and within each there is beauty to be found.
About Ben Bugden
Lucky enough to be born and bred in Byron Bay – back when it was still possible to surf The Pass with a handful of friends and the road to Tallows was dirt.
Throughout Ben’s life the ocean and the lifestyle surrounding it have been pivotal in shaping him as a person and a photographer.
“This rings true in even my earliest memories. Sitting on the beach with Mum eating apricots; the shimmering surface and cool relief of the water the first time I stepped in; lying in the rain curled up in Dad’s board-bag under Pandanus Palms waiting for him to come in from the surf; the invigorating kiss of water droplets on a hot day; the feeling of a stressful day melting away with the embrace of the ocean.”
Ben holds degrees in both Graphic Design and Photoimaging. He currently shoots, writes and works as deputy editor for Tracks Magazine, and is also a creative guide for Vagabond Photographic.
Ben lives and works in Byron Bay, Australia.
Leigh James: simply voice, acoustic guitar, stomp box, loops…
“I just love to make beautiful music, whether writing or interpreting: Jazz, Latin, Funk, R&B, Pop from James Taylor to Stevie Wonder, Sting to John Mayer, Tony Bennett to Michael Buble and everything in between.”
Leigh James has a true voice and an original and rhythmic approach to acoustic guitar, and solo or leading duos, trios or bands has been a pro musician since 1981.
Roots firmly placed in the folk rock tradition – think James Taylor – but with the pop/jazz sensibility of Sting and a love of Afro/Latin rhythms, Leigh continues to grow as a musician and performer.
Four Dolphin Awards to his credit, for Funk, Pop, Gospel, and Country, and recently highly commended in the prestigious International Songwriting Competion for his song Make Peace, he has supported/backed Shane Howard, Graeme Connors, Kate Ceberano, The Black Sorrows, James Morrison, Renee Geyer, Marcia Hines and Brian Cadd to name a few!
Since 2006, Leigh has performed a tribute to James Taylor, featuring an eight piece international band. More recently Leigh has teamed up with his wife Elizabeth Lord to present ‘You’ve Got A Friend – a tribute to Carole King and James Taylor.
Leigh and Elizabeth met with Carole and James after their Brisbane concert March 2010 at the invitation of James Taylor who had met Leigh in West Massachusetts 2009.
Original CD releases include Hip Pocket’s Get Loved in 1993 and Share with partner Elizabeth Lord, 1997 and a solo CD of originals entitled The Circle Turns 2011.
In demand as an original musician at festivals as diverse as Woodford to Tamworth, and in recording studios as a session singer and acoustic guitarist, Leigh has a vast working repertoire and has played restaurants, hotels, clubs, resorts, islands and cruise ships throughout Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.
Be entertained by one of the finest singer/songwriter/guitarists on the North/Gold Coasts: “If there’s a great lyric and melody AND a great groove to a tune you’re thinking of, try me! I may just know it”
Leigh James: Voice, Guitar, Loops, Stomp
Narelle has been playing piano and singing for many years and performed in lots of countries around the world. The Sydney Conservatorium of N.S.W. is where Narelle did her initial training which was in fact, classical piano. Narelle then moved on to playing with various musicians and also solo performances in many piano bars across Europe. Cruise ships were a regular gig as well. The style of music that Narelle enjoys playing is classical, pop tunes, musical theatre, movie themes and swing tunes. Narelle currently performs with a trio called “Dean Doyle with Sophistication”, they have been performing together for 10 years.
Harts is the nom de plume of Indian-born, Australian-based musician, singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and music producer Darren Hart, whose singular blend of funk, jazz, blues, psychedelic rock, and indie electronic has drawn comparisons to Prince, Jimi Hendrix, and Lenny Kravitz, among others. Wishfulness, the latest single from Harts is out now.
To coincide with his upcoming releases Harts is touring Australia, as he takes his expanded live setup, Australia wide for the first time. His new shows will be a great opportunity to see him perform his new music, with a bigger, expanded live band. It’s going to be an all new, intimate and experimental show.
Full tour and ticket links at: http://www.hartsmusic.com
OOZ is a solo acoustic / Live Looping artist with a definite hint of folk/rock roots & reggae. With a large, eclectic repertoire of crowd favorites, his unique ‘laid back but lively’ style creates a relaxed atmosphere and his song choices have you remembering many of those forgotten classics. His ability to create layers with a loop pedal, enable him to play bass guitar and lay percussion beats to accompany his performances and get the audience on their feet.
His extensive experience in the music industry has seen him play countless shows all across Australia – from the resorts in the victorian snowfields, to the capital cities, the coastal hotspots and of course the beautiful Whitsundays.
Ooz’s has also performed extensively overseas, with performances in Europe – his years mainly spent entertaining French and Austrian audiences.
Well into his 2nd decade as resident musician in Australian and international ski resorts, Ooz is a master at pleasing crowds from all walks. With sing-alongs-a-plenty, Ooz will have your guests engaged and entertained until the very end!
If you want the nuts and bolts of it, then here it is – Milo Green is an alter-ego of Adelaide-born songwriter Paul Appelkamp, who’s played in rock, funk and acoustic outfits for some time. But he’s always had a soft spot for stripped-back songs often played with just acoustic guitar and vocals. By inventing Milo Green, Appelkamp is able to write and perform warm, folky acoustic songs, which is where a big part of his passion has always been.
Milo Green’s charming brand of indie-folk always makes you feel warm. Influenced by songwriting legends like Tom Waits and Bob Dylan, Green maintains an authentic songwriting spirit with intriguing lyrics and hypnotic melodies leading the way.
Inspired by songwriting greats like Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Paul Kelly, Milo Green Duo plays songs that uplift the spirit. Milo (AKA Paul Appelkamp) is an award-winning musician who enjoys his entertaining brand of rock ‘n’ pop-folk, which includes playing other artists’ songs as well as his own.
As a duo, the Adelaide-born performer sings, strums guitar and rattles harmonicas while accompanied by soul-thumping drums. In the past ten years Green – under different guises – has supported artists such as Diesel, Dragon, Josh Pyke and Ian Moss across Australia.
“ displays a lyrical and musical maturity within it’s grooves” – ABC Coast FM Music Director
Phil and Tilley started writing music together in the autumn of 2012 surrounded by the New Forest (UK), an ancient woodland situated on the southern coast of England, an inspiration for these lifelong friends. Phil and Tilley play a blend of alternative acoustic/folk music, with influences from artists such as Xavier Rudd, Ben Harper and John Martyn. They incorporate their own ideas, using a slide guitar, the more traditional acoustic guitar and an unusual, fold-up-for-travel, upright bass, to create a sound that is uniquely their own. A yearning for travel and playing music has seen them play in Australia, New Zealand, France, Belgium and South East Asia, but their story continues to take them wherever the music allows them to go.
Phil Howell – Guitars/Vocals
Alex Tilley – Double Bass/Vocals
Like a Piña Colada served in a flatbrim with a side of steak and chips, King Social is at once refreshing and satiating. An eclectic Aussie five-piece, the group fuses rock, country, hip-hop, reggae, pop, indie and tight jeans to defy musical convention and transcend the bounds of any singular genre.
Formed in 2013, the unlikely mates at the heart of King Social look like the stragglers at the shittiest ever UN Convention – there’s an ocker cowboy, a Greek hippy, a rapping Scottish/Aboriginal, a Fijian with an infectious smile, and – when his beard is in full-force – a lead guitarist who could easily be mistaken for Ned Kelly.
Together they create a sound best described as “city meets country” – an edgy and endearing blend of old and new (like seeing your Grandma in jeggings, only not disgusting).
Performing with gusto and passion, King Social has amassed a cult following in its home stomping ground of North Queensland that is quickly catching across Australia and beyond. This fire was most recently fanned by a successful stint on Australia’s Got Talent, where the lads finished in the final five and netted thousands of new fans across the country and overseas.
Their live shows have been described as “electrifying” and “completely addictive”; and, like a siren’s song, frequently draw crowds in the thousands to be swept up in the good-time vibes that seep from King Social. From the first song they’ll win you over with a masterful mix of urban rock and hip hop, while still paying homage to their country roots.
The lads effortlessly weave the crowd into the show and even in front of more than 2,000 fans, there’s something intimate about the seamless transition from Angus’ honest, slightly rough-‘round-the-edges vocals to Stevie’s explosive and perfectly-crafted raps. King Social’s almost contradictory blend of sounds will find you dancing like a maniac while mixing sweat with rockers, ravers, hippies, hipsters, hot mums, bogans, beauties, crossdressers and drunks.
King Social’s first EP and music video It Goes Around was released in 2013; with the title track and Whiskey and my Gun both topping the Triple J Unearthed charts. Since then the band has continued to build on its incredible momentum, working hard to grow its fan base with live shows across Australia.
Their follow-up EP, Big Man, was released in December 2014 and scored them their third #1 on Triple J’s Unearthed Charts with The Dancer. This early success was compounded in 2015 when King Social were named finalists for four Queensland Music Awards and again following their Australia’s Got Talent Grand Final appearance, when both EPs appeared in the top 10 on iTunes’ Australia’s Charts and three singles – Big Man, It Goes Around and The Dancer charted in the top 100 in the overall charts and in the top 10 on the Alternative charts.
Through support gigs, the King Social lads have made a bunch of new mates including Sticky Fingers, 360, The Rubens and Dan Sultan, while helping them pack out venues. They look forward to hitting the road again in 2016 in response to the high demand coming from fans across the country.
King Social has a show that is not to be missed; there’s no doubt, that just like the UN, they will change the world.