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From rocky coasts and harbors and rural farms to historic downtowns and parks, photographers on the North Shore vividly captured a variety of special places in Essex County for their award-winning submissions to this year’s Essex National Heritage Commission photography contest. The annual competition encourages photographers of all levels to capture the beauty of the living landscapes, unique places, and interesting people of Essex County.

This year’s contest asked for photos in the categories of “Downtown”, “New Encounters”, “Splash of Color”, and a “Youth” category for young photographers ages 5-17.

The public is invited to attend an in-person Photo Contest Reception on Thursday, March 2 at 6 p.m. at the Salem Armory Visitor Center at 2 New Liberty Street in Salem. The reception is free, open to the public, and light refreshments will be served.

The 14 winning images will be on exhibition at the visitor center through the end of March 2023, and can be viewed online at

Grand Prize Winner

“Thacher Island Balancing Act” taken in Rockport by Jason Kennedy

Thacher Island Balancing Act | Photograph by Jason Kennedy

Category: Downtown

1st Place- “Everett Mill Clock” taken in Lawrence by Francisco Urena
2nd Place- “Ice Festival Stroll” taken in Salem by Donna Bambury
3rd Place- “North Parish at Night” taken in North Andover by William Putnam

Everett Mill Clock | Photograph by Francisco Urena

Category: New Encounters

1st Place- “Piping Plover Mother with Chicks Underneath” taken in Gloucester by Peter Van Demark
2nd Place- “Extreme Fishing” taken in Gloucester by Joyce Wood
3rd Place- “Resting Below a Lotus Canopy” taken in Groveland by Deric LePard

Category: Splash of Color

1st Place- “Egret in Dawn Light” taken in Gloucester by Carin Macnamara
2nd Place- “Got My Limit” taken in Ipswich by Judy Schneider
3rd Place- “Fire and Ice” taken in Salem by Kathy Valido

Got My Limit | Photograph by Judy Schneider

Youth Category

1st Place- “Fireworks Comet” taken in Salem by Zoey Matthias
2nd Place- “The Path of Clouds” taken in Andover by Ashley Sheldon
3rd Place- “A Peek Down the Street” taken in Lynn by Steven Hachey

People’s Choice Winner

“Haverhill by Night on the River” taken in Haverhill by Alison Colby-Campbell

The contest is presented by Essex Heritage in partnership with North Shore Bank, DeIulis Brothers Construction, Geller MicroAnalytical Labs, Groom Construction, and the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission. Prize sponsorships were awarded by Ipswich River Watershed Association, REI, SEE Shore Photography, The Trustees, Notch Brewing Company, and Atomic Café.