The Arcanum - Month 1 review

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Photography enthusiasts may have heard of the Arcanum, a photographic learning experience where you are the Apprentice and you work under a Master.  The concept is there are 20 levels and it is self-paced and your Master guides you in your learning and provides critiques on your progress along the way. To sign up, you add a bio and add some sample work. There are no guarantees that you'll be selected by any Master, and it could be days or weeks before you are selected.

Level 4 Photo (Before)
The concept is rather unique and I so thought I'd try it. I thought it would take a few weeks to be selected, but it took less than a day (about 12 hours) before I was selected by Glenn Guy, an Australian travel photographer. Initially I wasn't sure it was a good match but after viewing Glenn's bio where he explains that travel photography is really a blend of portraiture and landscapes, I actually felt that it was a good match as those are the two areas I focus most of my work. I also learned that Glenn had formerly been a wedding photographer and was well qualified to give me critiques on my portraits.

Level 4 photo (After)
So I happily joined Glenn's cohort and have been working on my levels this past month. Currently I am Level 5 and have received my first critique. Critiques are recorded and are hosted on Youtube as private videos for reference by *any* Arcanum student.  This initial critique was extremely useful but in a completely unexpected way.

Yes, Glenn gave me compositional feedback and some Lightroom instruction, but what he did was help me figure out my motivation for photography and discover what I'm passionate about when making photos (by identifying a theme) and encourage me to follow that theme in all areas of photography. What is that theme you ask? Well it's hard to put into words - but here's my first attempt:

"Photography for me is about capturing those fleeting moments before they are lost forever. I specialize in child portraits capturing intimate childhood moments and landscapes capturing historic ephemera."

Today is Day 1 of Month 2. I am still a level 5. To progress to level 6 I need to submit 10 new or re-edited images. Currently I have 7 (one of those is the Level 4 photo After above). Most are landscapes or interiors, and I want to fill out the 10 with some portraits, but this will require a little bribery to get my children to act as my child models as they are too busy playing with their friends as it's Summer Vacation.

If you have any comments or questions about my experience so far, I'm happy to answer - just leave a comment!

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