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Last month, a few University of Wisconsin Oshkosh students had the opportunity to get some real-world, hands-on, public-facing experience.

In partnership with New North B2B magazine, four UW Oshkosh students under the direction of Senior Lecturer Don Stolley, had the opportunity to envision and execute the cover for the December issue of the business magazine,  a monthly publication distributed from Fond du Lac to Green Bay.

As part of their advanced photography course, four students from Stolley’s class were selected based on their design concept. They were given the general theme of the story – Locally Grown Chains – and were set free to be creative.

“Photography is, by its nature, kind of a solitary medium. You take photos on your own, you process them on your own and you finish them on your own. So, having a group kind of project is a difficult thing to do,” Stolley said.

However, in the case of the magazine cover, the students worked together both in the on-campus photography studio, as well as in Stolley’s downtown studio to capture images. From there, Photoshop work began. Edits and tweaking on B2B’s end followed.

Angela Piechocki, a junior studying graphic design and photography, said “this project was a perfect experience for me.”

“When I first saw the cover it told me that I am definitely on the path to doing what I want,” she said. “I felt proud, but also a sense of purpose. It makes all of the hours I put into the cover worthwhile and in some ways gave me ideas on how to better any future work I do. I am definitely on track to a career that I can greatly enjoy.”

UW Oshkosh student Megan Tyjeski, who also worked on the project, said she thought it was a little challenging, but said the project opened her mind to the kinds of job possibilities that are out there.

“It’s a little uncomfortable having an assignment and trying to satisfy the person choosing the cover,” Tyjeski said. “It was a good challenge because it was a taste of real life. Magazine companies always need photographers for business and this job/assignment showed us what it was like to be a professional.”

In the end, the cover did satisfy New North B2B’s publisher Sean Fitzgerald and his team.

“The B2B staff evaluated the three design concepts and selected one to grace the cover of the edition,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald called the cover “truly unique.”

Stolley, who has been a photographer in the Oshkosh community for many years and has contributed art work to more than 70 B2B magazine covers during the past 10 years, is glad his students had the opportunity.

“They learned staging, shooting, lighting and new Photoshop skills,” Stolley said. “And they ended up with a magazine cover.”

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