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Volume 26, Number 2 — February 2019

Milligan senior inspired by social photographers

A photograph taken by Kathryn Handzlik during her summer with Appalachian Service Project.
A photograph taken by Kathryn Handzlik during her summer with Appalachian Service Project.
Additional photos below »

Work receives honorable mention

By Leslie Grace | A! Magazine for the Arts | May 29, 2013

Kathryn Handzlik, a senior at Milligan College, recently received an honorable mention in the Photographer's Forum Magazine 33rd Annual College and High School Photography Contest.

"I'm really excited to receive this award," Kathryn says. "My photo was of two girls from Harlan, Ky. I worked with Appalachia Service Project this summer, and when I was in Harlan County I passed a really run down house with a bunch of kids running and playing around it. I gave their parents an application and asked if I could take a few pictures. These kids were across the street. One had a Happy Meal on her head, and they were both just laughing their heads off. It was such a cool thing to witness — these two girls in the heart of poverty, yet they had this incredible happiness and contentment with what they had."

Kathryn was also a finalist in the same competition last year. Photographer's Forum is a quarterly publication dedicated to quality reproduction of photography in the United States and Canada. Each issue strives to facilitate communication and publication experience among emerging professionals.

The contest was open to all college and high school students. More than 16,700 photographs were received from students in the United States, Canada and around the world. This year's judges were from the Art Center College of Design (Pasadena, Calif.), Santa Barbara City College (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Brooks Institute of Photography (Santa Barbara, Calif.). College and high school entries were judged separately. Kathryn's photograph will be published in "The Best of College and High School Photography 2013" and appears in the Winners Gallery on the Photographer's Forum website.

She recently displayed her photographs at Milligan in a joint show, "Hanging On," with Mickey Brown. Brown was one of her fellow students who worked with her for ASP during the summer.

She is inspired by social photographers such as Mary Ellen Mark, Walker Evans and Shelby Lee Adams. She says, "I love to photograph the people of Central Appalachia. Working with ASP this summer allowed me to learn their culture and gave me opportunities to really get to know some wonderful families. I approach my subjects and photography with honesty. I try to just photograph what I see, either candid or posed, so that others can see a piece of what I experience in life. I am so grateful that the people I photograph in Central Appalachia give me the same honesty that I give them. Using film also allows me to be hands on with my photography from taking the picture to developing the film and printing the picture."

Although Kathryn has been taking photographs since she was 10 when her grandfather gave her his old digital camera — one of the first point and shoots — she didn't begin to shoot with film until the spring of her senior year of high school, when she inherited her uncle's Canon AE-1; her first film camera. "I had no idea how to use it, so I signed up for Basic Photography my freshman year at Milligan. I haven't turned back since," she says.

"I've always loved arts but was terrible at drawing and painting, and I've never been too great with words, so I've always tried to find different ways to express myself and my experiences. Photography also gives me a great excuse to go out and see the world around me with a critical eye."

She also expresses herself by stage managing productions at Milligan and working in the scene shop for Pamela Adolphi, buildings sets for their productions. "Theater is an important outlet for me that I thoroughly enjoy." She also does studio photography for the theatre department.

She isn't sure what she wants to do in the future, "I have a lot of ideas, open doors, things to try, I'm just not sure I'm ready to decide where I want to go yet. Photography will absolutely be a large part of my life wherever I go."

Kathryn is 20 and has a double major in photography and psychology. She is the daughter of Joe and Claudia Handzlik and is from Chalfont, Pa.

Handzlik's award-winning photograph