James Bleecker

Photo of James Bleecker

Hudson Valley

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.

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 II


James Bleecker photographs the landscapes and architecture of his native New York State. Since 1983 his work has spanned independent fine art photography and commercial architectural photography. Much of his work has been commissioned by museums and historic preservation groups in the Hudson River valley.

About James’s work, 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."

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