Rebekah Whillhite's photo “Blue Ribbon” which won in the Salem Historic Landmarks Commission annual photo contest. (Courtesy/ Salem Historic Landmarks Commission)

Rebekah Whillhite was getting her vaccine at the Oregon State Fairgrounds when inspiration struck.

She was trying to figure out to beat the photo she taken of the Leslie Middle School pool before it was demolished. Last year that photo won the historic interior category in the Salem Historic Landmarks Commission’s annual photo contest.

“I was really struggling with what would have that emotional connection,” she said.

That’s when she started taking photos of the historic horse barn at the fairgrounds. It was difficult to capture how large the building was from the exterior, so she moved inside and ended up submitting a photo of two gates inside.

“To have those sit empty felt pretty historic as well,” Whillhite said.

Hers was one of 16 entries in five categories in the contest. The winners were announced last week.

Another winner, Kenley Cartier-Whitman said her goal in taking photos for the contest was to make them look good.

I like the big golden guy,” she said, referring to the Oregon pioneer holding an ax atop the Oregon State Capitol.

The 9-year-old said she enjoyed taking the photos around town with her family.

Her photos won in three youth categories in the contest: historic exterior, historic feature landscape streetscape and selfie with a historic building or feature.

Coryn Cartier-Whitman said her daughter knew where she wanted to go and what angles she wanted to take for her photos.

“She likes to take different artistic pictures,” she said. 

Kenley Cartier-Whitman's photo “How We Learn History during COVID” which won in the Salem Historic Landmarks Commission annual photo contest. (Courtesy/ Salem Historic Landmarks Commission)

Susan Sligh's photo “Investing in History” which won in the Salem Historic Landmarks Commission annual photo contest. (Courtesy/ Salem Historic Landmarks Commission)

Camron Settlemier's photo "Winter Rose" which was the chairperson's choice winner in the annual photo contest by the Salem Historic Landmarks Commission. (Courtesy/ Salem Historic Landmarks Commission)

Kenley Cartier-Whitman's photo “Prettiest State Ever” which won in the Salem Historic Landmarks Commission annual photo contest. (Courtesy/ Salem Historic Landmarks Commission)

Evyn Wilhelm Baker's photo “Caboose #507” which won in the Salem Historic Landmarks Commission annual photo contest. (Courtesy/ Salem Historic Landmarks Commission)

Karen Shorter's photo “Emerging from the Fog” which won in the Salem Historic Landmarks Commission annual photo contest. (Courtesy/ Salem Historic Landmarks Commission)

Grace Sligh's photo “The Capitol Rocks” which won in the Salem Historic Landmarks Commission annual photo contest. (Courtesy/ Salem Historic Landmarks Commission)

Contact reporter Saphara Harrell at 503-549-6250, [email protected] 

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