Essex Heritage is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 Essex National Heritage Area Photo Contest! The annual photo contest encourages photographers of all levels to “capture” the living landscapes, unique places and interesting people of Essex County, MA.  The contest is presented by Essex Heritage in partnership with Hunt’s Photo & Video, the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission, and the National Park Service at Salem Maritime and Saugus Iron Works National Historic Sites.

From rocky coasts and harbors, to rural farms, historic downtowns and parks, photographers of all ages vividly captured a variety of special places in Essex County for their award-winning submissions to this year’s contest. Thirteen of the fourteen winning images were selected by a panel of judges that included special guest judges John Andrews, owner of Creative Salem and Social Palates, three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Stanley Forman, and professional photographer, Scott Ryder. The “People’s Choice Winner” was chosen by public votes via Essex Heritage’s Facebook page. All of the photographs were taken within the Essex National Heritage Area and represent one of four contest categories: “This Land Is Your Land”; “Downtown”; and “Go Coastal”. Youth, ages 5-17, were also encouraged to enter the Photo Contest to win a “Youth Entry” prize in any of the contest categories. 

2016 Essex National Heritage Area Photo Contest Winners

Grand Prize Winner

  • Caught in a Vortex in Rockport by Amy Smith of Gloucester

People’s Choice Winner

  • Cider Donut Run in Ipswich by John Quinn of Beverly

Category: This Land is Your Land

  • 1st Prize: Holding Beauty at Crane Estate in Ipswich by Laura Ganz of Salem
  • 2nd Prize: Are You My Mother by Sue Plutsky, Gloucester
  • 3rd Prize:  Gathering Flowers at Tendercrop Farm in Newbury by Vicki Dakin of Lynn

Category: Downtown 

  • 1st Prize: Supreme Roast Beef Diner Facade in Gloucester by Karen Hosking of Salem
  • 2nd Prize: Rocky Hill Meetinghouse 1785 in Amesbury by Ken Jordan of  Lynn
  • 3rd Prize: Foggy Good Morning in Gloucester by Judy McCann of Dracut

Category: Go Coastal

  • 1st Prize: After the Storm by Rick Matthias, Salem
  • 2nd Prize: Owl in Dunes in Salisbury by Jacob Mosser III of North Reading
  • 3rd Prize:  Fish House at Dusk by Neal Rodgers, Swampscott

Youth Winner

  • This Land Is MY Land by Sydney Lee Jolivet, Newbury 

Photo Contest Reception and Exhibit

The public is invited to attend the 2016 Photo Contest Reception on Wednesday, January 25, 2017 at 5 PM, in the gallery at Hunt’s Photo & Video in Melrose (located at 100 Main Street, Melrose, MA 02176-6104). At the reception, photographers will be presented with their awards and visitors will have a chance to meet the photographers as well as view the 2016 Photo Contest Exhibit.  The reception is a free and open to the public; please RSVP via Eventbrite Registration Page.

The twelve winning images will be exhibited for one year at the National Park Service Visitor Center in Salem (2 New Liberty Street, Salem, MA 01970) and at the office of the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission (160 Main Street, Haverhill, MA 01830). 

See all the winning photographs online at 

Prints for the Essex National Heritage Area Photo Contest exhibits were generously provided by Hunt’s Photo & Video.  Prizes for the Photo Contest were generously contributed by Hunt’s Photo & Video and the National Park Service.