At a school overflowing with student talent and imagination, one student-run organization offers a space for creators, writers and designers alike to connect and share their passion — V Magazine.
Over the course of each semester, the V Magazine staff pulls together photoshoots, graphic design, student writing and student art to create their final issue — a manifestation of all things artistic at the University.
Each edition is anchored by a core theme or concept that inspires their content. Mia Gualtieri, co-editor-in-chief and fourth-year College student, said she appreciates these prompts for the ideas they spark in the magazine’s creation.
“We’re super into using a single word or phrase that has many meanings,” Gualtieri said. “We have to sort of balance how it can be broad, yet specific… sometimes it’s more helpful to be creative when you have at least some form of a box.”
These prompts serve as starting points in a greater creative process. As the production team curates the issue and student submissions roll in, the original idea can evolve and change. According to Charlotte Giff, co-editor-in-chief and fourth-year College student, the concept “grows on its own.”
“I think that there's a degree to which that element of growth and change is under our control, and then another element that's totally independent of us,” Giff said. “The final issue ends up being a conglomeration of both what we thought it was going to be and what everyone else wants it to be.”
The recently released Fall 2022 edition tackled the theme “Generations.” Despite the apparent simplicity of a one-word prompt, the issue exhibits a diverse array of interpretations. From abstract digital art to moving poems describing generational trauma, each page highlights a new meaning of the word, taking a fresh approach.
Maddie Stokes, lead creative writing editor and third-year College student, described the variety in submissions as “shocking.”
“Not only did people write about generations in a literal sense, but several pieces also dealt with the process of aging and the natural world, a change I didn’t expect when we first called for submissions.” Stokes said. “This edition is certainly not what I first envisioned, but I love it all the more for that.”
Central to each issue and its respective theme are two photoshoots — designed, planned and executed by the V Magazine staff. In the “Generations” issue, shoots were inspired by both nostalgia and futurism.
The first of the two — “family fête” — flaunts rich colors and vintage pieces in a celebration of fashion’s mercurial, generational nature. In crafting the images, no detail was left unnoticed. Each carefully curated accessory featured in the photos is inspired by a specific era of fashion — such as a 90’s-esque bedazzled flip phone, butterfly clips, colorful makeup, and more.
Luckily, V Magazine’s aesthetic prowess extends into their staff’s wardrobes, making sourcing clothes for shoots easy.
“There's so many people with amazing clothes here that it hasn't been the case yet that we've had to find resources outside of that,” Giff said.
Each shoot encompasses a major community effort. On the day of, the energy is high — staff members assemble Pinterest boards for inspiration, makeup artists execute their visions and stylists scramble to source clothes and dress models, explained Giff.
At its core, the publication is powered by their high valuation of collaboration. Gualtieri reflected on her earliest experiences working on photoshoots for the magazine.
“I think the collective energy that comes from working on [collaborative] projects like that is something that is super unique.” said Gualtieri. “The first time I did it, I was like, ‘Oh, this feels right, and feels like something I want to be doing.’”
With around 40 staff members, each individual offers valuable skills in various aspects of production — whether it be writing, photography, graphic design or elsewhere. Editors Giff and Gualtieri hope that as the organization continues to grow, it can serve as an educational experience for new members.
According to Giff, V Magazine’s talented staff has gained invaluable skills that can’t always be developed in the classroom.
“I think my long term dream for V Magazine is that it becomes not just a publication, but a place where people can come in and be part of not just a community of creative individuals, but also learn from them and grow with them,” said Giff.
Having recently closed their seasonal submissions for student art and writing, V Magazine is hard at work on their Spring 2023 Issue. The staff collectively decided on the theme of “red” — which can be interpreted “literally or metaphorically” according to V Magazine’s Instagram. Gualtieri is optimistic about the “generative” potential of this prompt.
Powered by the originality and commitment of its members, V Magazine offers artists the chance to realize their abilities in a physical form by publishing their work in a professional format. Creatives of all kinds are able to find not only a platform at V Magazine, but a home amongst some of the most talented and passionate individuals at the University.