Editing connections

West High has a new editorial magazine, and it’s a one-person show.

Florence Assumani ’22 and Tremeice Carter ’22 pose for a photo.

After COVID-19 upended her senior year, Erica Buettner ’21 found herself wishing she could stay in touch with her classmates while doing online school. Aiming to remain connected with her peers and boost her college portfolio, Buettner created the “West High Editorial,” a magazine focusing on the individuality of students. 

“I was sad that my senior year I wasn’t going to be able to see my classmates,” she said. “I really like photography, and I have a camera, so this gave me an opportunity to see them.”

“West High Editorial” is an editorial magazine featuring portraits of West High students. The magazine started out as a way for Buettner to spend her free time and to gain experience in graphic design, but in her eyes, it has quickly turned into something more.

“When I started out, I needed a portfolio for college, I really wanted an interesting portfolio and I wanted to do graphic design,” she said. “But it has kind of morphed into something else. When I take the pictures, I try to show a side of someone’s personality that you don’t normally get to see.” 

When I take the pictures, I try to show a side of someone’s personality that you don’t normally get to see.”

— Erica Buettner '21

One of Buettner’s favorite photoshoots was with senior Phoebe Burt. Buettner made a custom dress for Burt and the photoshoot included many fun props.

She’s very athletic, and she does football and roller derby which are very tough and like sporty so it’s cool to do a dramatic red dress and glam makeup,” she said. “It shows a different side of her.”

There’s a lot to get done before the final copy comes out in May, especially for a one-person team. Buettner is taking all the photos and plans to design the entire magazine herself. She sees “West High Editorial” as a great opportunity to explore her interests while creating something unique. 

“I really like planning out the shots and coming up with ideas,” she said. “I’m getting better at photography, but I do really enjoy the design aspect and visualizing it.”

In the future, Buettner is looking forward to taking more group shots and getting into the design process. 

Interested students can plan a free photoshoot with Buettner, a couple of different ways First, reach out to her through her Instagram (@west.high.editorial). Next, she has a Google Form for you to fill out asking questions about your style or dream style. 

“The Google Form is important,” Buettner said, “The person in the photos needs to be connected to it, and see themselves positively.”

Then the arrangements need to be made: the location of the shoot, the outfits, the theme and more. Because of COVID-19, Buettner is taking extra precautions and can provide masks while staying socially distanced. Finally, it’s time for the shoot. If students don’t have an idea for their shoot or have nothing to wear, Buettner has them covered. 

“I have a thrifting problem,” she says, “and so sometimes I go to thrift stores and find really cool pieces. Then I go from there and theme the pieces to a photoshoot or find a person who I think would look really good in it.” 

The “West High Editorial” is a unique chance for students to be themselves and explore their creative side. At the end of the school year, it will be available for purchase similar to a yearbook, with students being able to buy the whole magazine or individual pages.

“I really enjoy taking the photos because it accentuates a side of someone’s personality that you don’t normally get to see, and I like helping people find that through this project,” Buettner said.