Fine Arts undergrad earns internship with Congressman Yarmuth
Senior Kathryn Harrington (Fine Arts) received the first federal photography internship established in Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth's office this past spring semester. This prestigious internship was created with the help of Prof. Mary Carothers (Fine Arts). In July, Kathryn Harrington and Prof. Carothers are visiting Washington D.C., meeting with Congressman Yarmuth, and visiting federal offices and monuments.
In this Q&A with Kathyrn, we learn what inspires her as a photojournalist, and what it’s like to be a photographer for a politician.
Major and expected graduation: BFA, photography (December 2016)
Academic and creative 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 that I’ve taken have been in art history and humanities.
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 in 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 have worked on for my undergraduate education has been my senior piece for my BFA show titled Archive Exposed. This 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 this piece I have 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 this lack of information I have reproduced each photo to 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 interned for Congressman John Yarmuth. How did that come about, and what was that experience like?
The internship with Congressman Yarmuth has been 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. The installation was displayed during the Louisville Photo Biennial at Galerie Hertz and incorporated media images while confronting the issues of segregation. After seeing the installation, Mrs. Look contacted Professor Carothers about creating a Federal Photography internship. Knowing that I had a love for photojournalism, Prof. Carothers told me about the opportunity and it has been the most incredible experience from the get go.
Mrs. Look contacts me about different events that Congressman Yarmuth will be attending that the office would like to be photographed. Once I document the event, I send my photos to Christopher Schuler, Communications Director for Congressman Yarmuth’s office in Washington D.C., to use for archival and social media purposes.
Through this internship I have met so many great people and have had so many unique experiences that have helped me grow as a photographer. Not only have I learned more about my community, but I have 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 further. I am so grateful to be continuing the internship for my last semester this fall and that I get 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 Prof. Carothers and Prof. 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