LANSING — Pure Michigan announced Thursday Sean Chess of Coldwater is the winner of the Pure Michigan Moments Photo Contest.

Chess’ photo of the St. Joseph North Pier Lighthouse will be featured in the 2013 Pure Michigan Travel Guide.

“Sean’s photo represents the natural beauty and incredible destinations Michigan has to offer and was one of the clear fan favorites in this contest,” said George Zimmermann, vice president of Travel Michigan, part of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. “We received a tremendous response to this contest across our social networks from folks eager to share some really great photos and even better memories made right here in Pure Michigan.”

The winning photo will be published in the 2013 spring-summer Pure Michigan Travel Guide. One million copies of the guide will be printed, with 650,000 copies being distributed with the March-April issue of Midwest Living magazine.

More than 3,300 photos were submitted to Pure Michigan through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram throughout the contest with 54,384 votes being cast in total.  Photos ranged from sweeping landscapes to family portraits and featured scenes and destinations from all across Michigan.

“My brother and sister and I would always check out lighthouses with my dad, who recently passed away,” Chess said. “This year, we decided to explore the shore of Lake Michigan and ended up at the St. Joseph Lighthouse. When I was looking out on the vast coast of Lake Michigan, I felt it was truly an honor to be standing there. It’s like the setting was made for me to take that picture.”

Pure Michigan continues to be one of the top-ranked state tourism agencies, most recently receiving a 2012 Mercury Award for top social media presence by the U.S. Travel Association and the National Council of State Tourism Directors. The campaign has seen incredible growth in newer platforms such as Instagram and Google+ and continues to have a strong presence on Facebook and Twitter with 450,000 fans and 40,000 followers respectively.

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