Photographer Albert D. Horner died last month, after years of sharing his ethereal images of the New Jersey Pinelands. After retiring from a long career as a sales representative for a fishing tackle company in 2010, he devoted himself wholeheartedly to documenting the extensive protected woodlands of South Jersey, full of oak and pine forests, sandy coastal ecosystems, and one of the largest and cleanest aquifers on the East Coast. Drawn to the Pinelands since childhood, he turned his camera to an area he knew well—an area that felt like home.

Hog Wallow, Albert D. Horner

State of the Arts met with Albert in 2019, joining him on a long walk on secluded trails to one of his favorite spots in the Pines, where he set up his camera and tripod. He discussed the motivations behind his work, in particular noting that his two life goals were to publish a book and to have an exhibit at the NJ State Museum. Albert not only reached these goals, but also became an important player in the artistic conversation around the Pines, an iconic subject tackled by many New Jersey artists and writers. “The best photographers more or less shoot where they live,” Albert said. “This was a great opportunity for me to key in on that, because I knew the Pinelands so well.”

Mullica Maples II, Albert D. Horner

The titles of his book, Pinelands: New Jersey’s Suburban Wilderness, and his 2019 State Museum exhibition, Preserving the Pinelands: Albert Horner’s Portraits of a National Treasure, illustrate the reverence he held for the land, appreciating it as a local beauty with national ecological importance. Home to incredibly clean water, a diverse community of animals, and rare plant species, the Pinelands face many threats as the climate warms and sea levels rise.


The dreamlike quality of Albert’s photos highlight the transience of the Pines throughout the seasons. “The Pinelands hadn’t really been known by a lot of people,” NJ State Museum Executive Director Margaret O’Reilly noted. “People realized there was this green area, but what was this green area? Albert’s photographs are beautiful, and I thought, we need to explain to people what the Pinelands are.”

As we remember Albert D. Horner and the respect he held for New Jersey’s environment, his photographs speak eloquently, urging us all to explore and preserve this unique ecosystem. He was, in every sense of the word, a true artist.

Pine Grove, Albert D. Horner
Shown in the 2023 exhibition A Pinelands Portrait at the Stockton Art Gallery