Editor’s Welcome: Captivating reader photos that (almost) left us speechless


They say a picture is worth 1,000 words.

So, thank you, readers, for sending us 1.6 million words! You spoiled us by submitting 1,606 outstanding entries to Arkansas Living’s 2023 Reader Photo Contest. (Our ultra-organized Associate Editor Nancy Meador counted and categorized them. Our most popular category: birds with 432 entries.
Egret-fully we couldn’t run them all!)

Barn at Sunset, Lawrence County — Randy Story

Bull Elk Silhouette, Harrison — JUSTIN SMITH

The Littlest Cowboy, Russellville — DIANE RACE

Our team had the toughest time deciding winners out of so many fine photos. And we could only select one for the cover, when 100 would have looked splendid.

Tree Frog Snuggling in the Winter Squash Blossom — JUDITH ALLEN

Ultimately, we chose “Tree Frog Snuggling in the Winter Squash Blossom” — taken by Judith Allen at SalScilla Farms, Inc. in Mayflower — as our cover because of its subject matter, storytelling and authenticity.

It tickled us to discover it was taken with an everyday smartphone, proving that everyone can be brilliant photographers — even without specialized training and professional equipment — if we are present in the moment and appreciate the splendor that surrounds us.

Enough words. Let’s use this space for a few more fantastic photos.

Until next year’s contest, keep your eyes open, and stay focused!

Jennifer Christman Cia is the editor of Arkansas Living.