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

Vanishing Point

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

Hudson Valley - Color Images

Installation Views



Selected collections:
Albany Institute of History and Art, NY
Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, MA
Barry Diller/IAC, New York City
Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, NY
Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY

Grants and commissions:
David Rockefeller/Stone Barns Foundation
The Frick Collection
American Museum of Natural History
The Morgan Library & Museum
Albany Institute of History and Art
New York State Council on the Arts
MTA Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Historic Hudson Valley
Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area
Scenic Hudson

Tuxedo Park: The Historic Houses
Historic Kingston