Teri Havens, finalist of the May 2017 edition

Please scroll down to read the Project Statement and see the images.

Teri Havens has been documenting fragments of American culture for over thirty years. Recurring themes in her work include individuality, isolation and the enduring self sufficiency of people and places that are often left behind. Her photography is a study - and ultimately a celebration - of cultural and geographic desolation.

After studying photojournalism at the University of Texas and serving as an intern at the Magnum photo agency in New York, Teri developed her printmaking skills by improvising darkrooms in kitchens and motel rooms across the country (while working as an itinerant cocktail waitress). Teri’s work has been exhibited internationally and featured in numerous publications including: The Huffington Post, The London Sunday Times, The Sun Magazine, Photo District News and Adore Noir. In 2016 she was a recipient of the Julia Margaret Cameron Award. Teri is immensely grateful for the funding she has received from the Puffin Foundation, Dave Bown Projects, The Mind’s Eye and The Luminous Endowment. She currently lives in rural Colorado with her husband Mike. When not lost in the backcountry, or in her darkroom producing palladium prints, she can be found in her beloved ’88 Ford Van on the track of the perfect roadside bar.


Project Statement, Outliers

In Teris' words: I’ve always had a thing for bars. The more marginal the better. I’m mostly drawn to rural or urban outliers - raw, dilapidated joints that evoke an earlier, grittier era. An authentic downto-its-rotting-bones refuge where a hard-edged world is numbed and softened by alcohol and dim lighting.

Defiant vestiges of the past, the bar always seems the last to go. After the grocery store, the lumberyard and the barbershop long ago surrendered to the future and shut their doors for the final time, the bar stayed on. Slumped alone on the edge of a discarded town, its neon spills out onto the asphalt and burns through the night. Inside, the beer is cold, and the jukebox stocked with George Jones and dirges from an irretrievable past.

“Outliers” is an homage to the humble bar. Handcrafted prints of simple, solitary structures shrouded in loneliness and isolation, yet miraculously, as if blessed by some divine patron, still open. The images are captured using either moonlight or ambient streetlight. The finished palladium print, a hybrid of modern digital technology and nineteenth-century printmaking techniques, reflects the context of the antiquated buildings - still alive, but barely - within contemporary society.