It all began with an invite to meet with others outside of the National Theatre on the South Bank of the Thames on Valentines Day 2015. No one knew how many would show up on this grey and cloudy winter’s day in the heart of London. But people did come, men and women from all walks of life and all corners of the world. I had convinced my wife that it would be a great opportunity to meet like minded people and much better than going out for a Valentines meal! She let me head out alone, feeling slightly guilty but with lots of curiosity.

I got to the South Bank around 2.30pm the rendezvous was for 3pm, I watched as more and more people gathered. Close to two hundred photographers were now gathered waiting, waiting for Trey Ratcliff and the start of his much anticipated photowalk. He arrived and made sure he shook everyone by the hand, even though this took a while and then took to a rampart to explain the plan for the afternoon.

trey-ratcliff-london-photowalk-2015

He mentioned that he was meeting up with some members of “The Arcanum” for a drink afterwards and that we were all welcome to come! This was the the first that I had heard of The Arcanum – what was this secretive group of photographers?

The Arcanum, I have since discovered is a peer to peer learning network for photographers, Groups (cohorts) and are placed together with a Mentor (Master) and learn together through a series of challenges. The members of the cohort are called Apprentices regardless of experience in the outside world, or their standing in the photographic community. So professional photographers and students and everything in between stand together in each cohort eager to help each other through photographic challenges of one sort or another. Sounds like fun!

I started my journey in August of 2015 joined the cohort of travel photographer Glenn Guy and only last week did I graduate and now waiting to join my next cohort. This website is part of the new post Arcanum world. Only images created after August 2015 will appear on the new website, old stuff can be found on www.bluearsefly67.co.uk but the focus has shifted and the quality has improved and danhopkins.photography is a new start.

We did try and go for a drink afterwards but 200 photographers attempting to squeeze into a riverside bar on Valentines night caused problems and we were asked to leave. Never did have that drink – maybe next time Trey!

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