Meet Kathryn Harrington BFA photography '16 - I think therefore I EXPOSE

photo of Kathryn Harrington


Kathryn Harrington
BFA Photography ‘16
Yarmuth Federal Photography Intern

Degree and graduation date
BFA Photography 2016 

Academic interests       
I love to research alternative photographic processes and photographic history. I also enjoy painting and drawing. As far as academics, besides my art classes, my favorite classes were art history and humanities classes.

What sparked your interest in studying fine arts, and photography in particular?            
I can honestly say that I have wanted to be an artist for as long as I can remember. I’ve always loved all areas of art, but I knew that photography was what I wanted to do when I took my first black and white film photography class in high school at Sacred Heart Academy.

I discovered that I loved documenting stories, whether they are my own, those of people around me, or stories throughout my community.

Tell me about a project or story that you consider to be the most significant in your undergraduate education thus far.       
The most significant project I worked on for my undergraduate education was my senior BFA show, “Archive Exposed.” That work has been a way to explore the history of my ancestors by utilizing a large amount of family photos that date back to the late 1800’s.

Through that piece I discovered that while I possess a large amount of information about my history, I also recognize the lack of information that is inevitable with the passage of time and distortion of memory. To show that lack of information I reproduced each photo and put it through an alternative photographic process that physically strips away portions of the image, leaving them to be incomplete shadows of the past.

You were awarded the first Federal Photography Internship for Congressman John Yarmuth. How did that come about, and what was that experience like?       
The internship with Congressman Yarmuth was by far the best experience of my college education. It came about when Judy Look, a wonderful congressional aid working for Congressman Yarmuth, saw the installation “Bloodline,” created by my mentor, Prof. Mary Carothers (Fine Arts). The installation was displayed during the Louisville Photo Biennial at Galerie Hertz and incorporated media images while confronting issues of segregation. After seeing the installation, Mrs. Look contacted Prof. Carothers about creating a Federal Photography Internship.

Knowing that I have a love for photojournalism, Prof. Carothers told me about the opportunity and it was the most incredible experience from start to finish. Mrs. Look contacted me about different events that Congressman Yarmuth would be attending that the office wanted photographed. Once I documented the event, I sent my photos to Christopher Schuler, the Communications Director for Congressman Yarmuth’s office in Washington D.C. to use for archival and social media purposes.

Through that internship I met so many great people and had so many unique experiences that helped me grow as a photographer. Not only did I learn more about my community, but I also learned from Congressman Yarmuth and his staff about the amount of work that goes into keeping Louisville great, while continuously working to improve it. I am so grateful to have been able to continue the internship for my last semester and that I got to continue to work with such a great group of people.

Did you have any key mentors or people who deeply influenced who you are, what you believe in and what you’re committed to in your work and life?  Tell me about them.         
First and foremost my greatest mentors have always been my parents and my grandmother. They have always encouraged me to pursue what I love to the fullest extent and have always supported my passions.

Two other key mentors who have influenced me are Department of Fine Arts professors Mary Carothers and Mitch Eckert. I have learned so much from them both and have received invaluable advice, lessons, and opportunities that continue to help me grow as a photographer.

What inspires you?
I have always enjoyed drawing inspiration from a lot of different areas. I especially get inspiration from other photographers and artists working in other media. But I am also inspired by nature, geometry, cultures around the world, history, literature, architecture, the list goes on and on.       

Plans for the future?    
I’m really hoping to go into photojournalism.