In his junior year at UH Hilo, Raiatea Arcuri is producing award winning photos while building business.
As a business major at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, Raiatea Arcuri is already tasting success as an entrepreneur. His still photography and timelapse images of Maunakea, Mauna Loa and the natural environment were featured in the PBS program NOVA in the episode “Decoding the Weather Machine,” which aired in March.
In his junior year at UH Hilo, Arcuri manages to balance his love for nature photography with the practicality of earning income. His artistic photographs are on his website, Raiatea Arcuri Photography, and he maintains a steady business in real estate photography.
Arcuri has been recognized in the field, winning the USA Young Landscape Photographer of the Year in 2016. His island roots, along with his images of Maunakea, contribute to his sense of beauty.
“I’m drawn to Maunakea because of its natural beauty and clear skies. It’s fascinating to photograph the telescopes and how they interact with the night sky. The desolate landscape, the puʻu and the night sky fill me with awe,” explains the young artist.
Above: Raiatea Arcuri’s timelapse video “From Mountain to Ocean.” (For the hearing impaired: video has gentle music, no narrative.)
Early start, early drive
Arcuri’s photographic talents were nurtured at Connections Public Charter School’s after-school enrichment program Studio Shaka. Part of the High Tech Youth Network, Studio Shaka is a supplemental creative environment for students to discover and develop their interests in a variety of forms, including 3D printing, art, robotics, music, media, dance and computer science. While still in high school, Arcuri was awarded a grant to attend the Adobe Youth Voice Conference in New Zealand.
“Raiatea is a pioneer,” says Kris Kua, Arcuri’s Connections Public Charter School teacher. “Many students today have a ‘just get by’ attitude, but that is not Raiatea. He is focused on being excellent in school, home and his life.”
Arcuri has maintained scholastic honors status throughout high school and college while also participating in student government. This year Arcuri is vice president of the UH Hilo Student Association.
Coming from a family of four boys (Arcuri has a twin brother), he understands the importance of compromise and diplomacy. “Itʻs important to be involved with student government to be a voice between the students and the faculty, administration and all levels of the UH System,” he says.