James Bleecker

James Bleecker photographs the landscapes and architecture of the Hudson River Valley. He has received commissions from the Albany Institute of History and Art, Historic Hudson Valley, the Rockefeller family foundations, The Frick Collection, the American Museum of Natural History, and The Morgan Library.

Edgar Munhall, Curator Emeritus of The Frick Collection, has written,
James's work is powerful and mature. Rigorously composed and technically perfect, his photographs can reduce you to tears by their beauty.

Photo of James Bleecker

Hudson Valley - Sepia-toned Images


My photography spans four decades of living in the Hudson River Valley. While my Dutch ancestors settled here early - Bleecker and Verplanck are common place names - I don't know what, if any, pull that fact exerts. Certainly I'm attracted to the layers of time exposed here; in ancient stone walls, leaning barns, faded mansions and mill towns. The valley exudes boom and bust, love and leavings.



New York City


Freedom Tower


My first glimpse of the unfinished Freedom Tower convinced me to document its construction. That rainy evening, security lights dimly traced a framework that filled my vision and disappeared into the clouds. Of the many buildings I'd photographed over the years, few presented such a visceral experience.

Between 2011 and 2014 I photographed the Freedom Tower’s transformation from skeleton to curtain wall. Features that held my attention were its dominance of the Manhattan skyline (the World Trade Center site was still mostly barren); its apparent, although not actual, twisting gesture; and its penchant for casting trails of mist off its summit during cool mornings. I continue to print favorite exposures from among the thousands I made.

Not only does James beautifully document this complex project, he captures a sense of the tragedy of 9/11 and the uplifting spirit of the new construction and the reclaiming of the skyline.

– David Childs, architect of One World Trade Center



High Line


The High Line’s transformation from el-train to elevated park was just underway in 2007. Inch-thick steel plates studded with rivets brought to mind the hull of an old ocean liner. Shouldered by new glass buildings, the rusting High Line dug in its heels and refused to budge. I wanted to photograph the giant before it was subdued.



Hudson Valley - Color Images


Installation Views


Resume

Collections:
Berkshire Museum
Barry Diller/IAC
Albany Institute of History and Art
Fenimore Museum
Everson Museum

Grants, Commissions:
New York State Council on the Arts
Albany Institute of History and Art
Historic Hudson Valley
Rockefeller family foundations (various) The Frick Collection American Museum of Natural History The Morgan Library & Museum