Work Prints: Eric Lindbloom’s Panoramas of the Hudson Valley

Introduction

People often ask me, after hearing a presentation on the many treasures in Vassar’s rare book collection, what my favorite book is. It’s an impossible question to answer, of course. But invariably, when thinking about examples from the contemporary period, my thoughts turn to The River that Runs Two Ways (Brighton Press, 2000). This fine press book about the Hudson Valley features poems by Nancy Willard and photographs by Eric Lindbloom. I’ve often used it in teaching, and like me, students always are struck by the textual and visual nature of this production.

During his lifetime, Eric made many photographs of the region where he lived. Some of them have appeared in print; others have not. In 2019, Vassar’s Archives & Special Collections Library acquired a collection of twenty-eight of Eric’s Hudson Valley panoramas, along with some contact sheets and negatives. These images provided a strong basis for understanding Eric’s work in this area. I’m thrilled to say that this year the Library is acquiring all of the Hudson Valley images he produced. This will extend our understanding of Eric’s work and will provide important documentation of nature and landscapes around us.

In order to celebrate this important acquisition, the Library is mounting an online exhibition and issuing a print equivalent. The exhibition is guest-curated by Sasha Louis Bush, a visual artist who worked closely with Eric. The exhibition features a selection of Hudson Valley photographs, and I encourage you to read Sasha’s curatorial essay. In addition, we are planning an online event where several people with knowledge of Eric’s work will be able to speak about their experiences. We hope these activities will not only extend visibility of our collections but also further appreciation of Eric’s photography, especially as it relates to the Hudson Valley.

There are several people to thank for their contributions to the website and print catalogue. First, my thanks go to James Lindbloom (Eric’s son), who by donating the Hudson Valley photographs helped to make all of this possible. I’m grateful to Sasha for agreeing to curate the exhibition and offer his thoughts on Eric’s work in his essay. Nicole Scalessa, Head of Digital Scholarship and Technology Services, as usual did a wonderful job creating our online exhibition, which is available through the Library’s website. Mark Seidl of the Special Collections Library created a helpful bibliography relating to Eric’s work.

I hope you will enjoy learning more about and experiencing this selection of Eric’s Hudson Valley photographs.

Ronald Patkus is Head of Special Collections and Adjunct Associate Professor of History on the Frederick Weyerhaeuser Chair.