James Sugar joined National Geographic in 1967 as a summer intern.
Two years later he joined as a full-time contract photographer, and he worked for the National Geographic Society until 1992. In that time, Sugar photographed dozens of stories for National Geographic magazine.
Sugar studied social science at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. He received a master of arts in communication from the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1982 Sugar also received an honorary master of arts for distinguished alumni from Wesleyan University.
A prolific photographer, Sugar worked on more than 20 stories for National Geographic. His published works cover a range of topics, including Iceland, Ireland, manatees, sea stars, truck drivers, the Balearic Islands, the San Francisco earthquake, and Halley's comet. He also published seven cover stories in Popular Mechanics.
Sugar also worked on several National Geographic books, including Railroads: The Great American Adventure, America's Sunset Coast, Secret Corners of the World, Alaska's Magnificent Parklands, Canada's Incredible Coasts, Mysteries of Mankind, and Our Changing Earth.
Sugar is an active participant in photography contests and has won several awards from the National Press Photographers Association, the Aviation Space Writers Association, the White House News Photographers Association, and the World Press Photo Contest.
Most recently, Sugar conceived, produced, and participated in a national seminar on digital imaging for Macintosh computers. This seminar visited 34 U.S. cities, five foreign countries, and was attended by more than 4,000 photographers and designers.
Sugar lives in Mill Valley, California, with his family.