Throughout the spring semester, Canvas will profile a student from every artistic academic program at UNC each week — from dramatic art to creative writing to photojournalism.
In the fifth installment of the series, staff writer Rupali Srivastava profiled sophomore photojournalism major Katy Folk.
A business on the side and a years-old hobby pushed sophomore Katy Folk to give up her chemistry major to focus on photojournalism.
Folk became interested in photography in middle school after doing realistic pencil drawings for several years. During her junior year of high school, she started a side business, called KFolk Photos, doing portraits and sports photography.
“I quickly realized I was dreading every single class I was going to take for my major, and I was still doing photography on the side with my business, so I thought, ‘I might as well do what I love,’” she said.
Since switching, she’s taken classes that have forced her to branch out from beyond portraits and sports photography, and focus more on documentary style work.
Sophomore Eric Barefoot met Folk in a photojournalism class and said they share and critique each other’s work.
“Katy’s really good at taking a scene, finding what’s interesting and capturing the action in it,” he said.
In their photojournalism class, Folk said she’s learned a lot not only about technique, and has access to resources like equipment and software through the journalism department and the undergraduate library. She’s also learned more practical skills.
“With my small business, I can set my own deadlines, it’s no big deal, but learning to be artistic on a deadline is tough,” she said.
“Be creative and be creative now.”
Folk said her dream job would be to work for a newspaper or magazine like National Geographic, but she’d also love to produce her own magazine — either a medical magazine or one that covers breaking science or science in third world countries.
“I would make it visual so the average person who likes science can have access to things like this; regular medical journals are just tedious,” she said.
In addition to her small business and photojournalism class projects, she takes photos for UNC’s Blue & White Magazine, and does sports photography for the women’s rugby team, which she also plays for.
“I like photography because I love the instant gratification. And if you’re good, you can capture it in a way that shows something new,” Folk said.
Barefoot said he has enjoyed getting to know Folk through photography.
“Katy’s great — she’s a sweet person, and she’s got a compelling personality and a real passion for photography.”
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