It all started in 1980, when a publisher directed him to make New Jersey look like New England. Walter Choroszewski set about exploring every overlooked nook in the Garden State, driving hundreds of miles a day to photograph scenes of stunning natural beauty for a book that would celebrate a place more commonly derided for the polluted air over its congested highways. New Jersey: A Scenic Discovery, published in 1981, was an instant smash hit, launching Choroszewski’s career as the visual chronicler of one small state’s abundant treasures. Next month, to commemorate his quarter-century of picture-taking in New Jersey, Choroszewski will publish New Jersey: A 25-Year Photographic Retrospective (Aesthetic Press, $40).
A greatest hits of sorts, it presents work taken from books, calendars, tourism brochures, and magazines (Choroszewski is a longtime contributor to New Jersey Monthly). Noted New Jersey historian John Cunningham, a past collaborator of Choroszewski’s, wrote the forward, paying further homage to a photographer whom the New York Times once described as “an unofficial state chamber of commerce, a Norman Rockwell of a changing Jerseyana.”