A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…
The Arcanum, “the magical academy for the mastery of the arts,” was born. Well, not really. But, for some reason, when I first stumbled upon The Arcanum website and concept I was instantly reminded of the Star Wars movies.
As I delved deeper into discovering what The Arcanum was all about, I realized there indeed is a similarity to popular fantasy movies such as Star Wars and Harry Potter. The theme of the master and apprentice is the core of The Arcanum. In Star Wars, Jedi Master Yoda takes young Luke Skywalker under his wing and helps him to become a Jedi Knight and eventually save the universe by destroying the Death Star.
OK, maybe there’s not such a dramatic ending in The Arcanum, although developers Trey Ratcliff, Peter Giordano and Curtis Simmons are no doubt still working on the script, so I don’t believe anyone really knows how it will end. In fact, The Arcanum is in its infancy and the beta testing stage, and I was fortunate to be invited to become one of the first apprentices.
As an apprentice, I’m taking a journey to grow my creative artistry through working with my master and fellow apprentices in our 20-member cohort. As we learn and grow, we “level up” via challenges and critiques that are increasingly demanding, educational and enriching, until perhaps one day we graduate to become a master and educator to others.
An internationally acclaimed wildlife and nature photographer named Laurie Rubin chose me to be in her first cohort after reviewing my Arcanum application and discovering my affinity for animals and photography. I couldn’t have received a better master to take me on this journey into expanding my abilities in wildlife photography. Laurie’s work is amazing, and her passion for animals and the natural world is prominently displayed in her work.
I remember the first time I saw the Nature’s Best Photography exhibition at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. in the mid-1990s. The winning images just blew my mind, and I hoped one day to be able to achieve that level. Well, Laurie won first place in the Zoo & Aquarium Category in 2012, so my dream is one huge step closer!
Last night I had my first one-on-one critique with Laurie via a Google+ hangout, where she went over five images I’d selected and edited with the help of my fellow apprentices from throughout the world. I’ve never had another professional photographer spend so much time with me, taking each image and analyzing its strengths and weaknesses. It was so educational and inspiring!
I’d also received feedback from the apprentices, which was vital and helped me to fine-tune my photographs before the critique. Having others offer their candid opinions and honest viewpoints is invaluable to growing as an artist, and I’m so grateful to them for taking the time to comment.
Being a member of Laurie’s cohort in The Arcanum is an honor. I’m thrilled to be a part of this new journey into artistic knowledge and enrichment. While I’ve had wonderful photography teachers over the years and professional photographers as my best friends, I’ve never had an educator to work with in this capacity.
If you watch Trey’s introductory video, you’ll get an idea of this “new/old” concept and where The Arcanum visionaries plan to take it, thanks to today’s modern technology. I’m not sure how many countries are represented in our cohort, but juggling time zones for live hangouts has a whole new meaning when 16 hours separate us.
I’ll keep you all posted with updates as I continue on my journey. The five images in today’s blog post are photographs I’d taken previously but reprocessed with input from Laurie and my fellow apprentices. My next challenge is to present them with 10 new images, with the bulk being animals I’ve never photographed. Next stop, the zoo!