An Interview With: Keir Birchall

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Keir Birchall, a third year physics student at the University of Nottingham. I’m involved with several music organisations and a student campaign group, shooting gigs and other events they put on. My personal work consists, largely, of street photography.

How did you get into what you do?

A number of years ago my parents gave me a Sony bridge camera for Christmas. From that moment, I was obsessed I became the official family photographer and would take it out with me wherever I went. A few years later my Dad bought a DSLR which I have ‘inherited’ just by using it far more than he ever did. My current obsession is working with film after I bought myself an Olympus 35mm camera.

How do you work?

Quite sporadically. I will wake up one day, decide to go out, say into town or out to the industrial estate near where I live, and shoot a lot. I rarely go with a specific image in mind. I believe it’s part of the dynamic nature of street photography to be in the moment, ready to capture anything unusual or striking that happens.

How would you describe your work?

A lot of my work, I would say, fits under the broad umbrella of street photography. It’s certainly the style from which I take the most inspiration. Predominately, they are images from my life and portray how I view the world.

What is your background?

Largely scientific. That was the way I went through education because I can see there is beauty in Science especially when described by great communicators like Feynman. Since coming to university, I’ve been a little bored with my studies so immersed myself in photography and have so far been loving it!

Where does your inspiration come from?

The style of 20th century street photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Elliot Erwitt and Vivian Maier is a particular favourite of mine. Although Jean Mohr’s photograph of the window cleaner, from Vienna in 1968, is my current desktop background!

Why photography?

Practising photography really makes you live in moment. It makes you appreciate all the little details of life that other people might miss that make the world such an interesting place to live. Whether that be a particularly pleasing pattern of rust or the smile of a passer-by.

What are you goals after University?

The past few years has made photography more of a serious career choice for me but I’m still not 100% sure. I’m gonna continue shooting and trying to find more photography work whilst I’m at university.

Is there any specific equipment you use?

I’m never without my trusty Olympus OM2 and £1 AFGA Vista 200 colour film. The perfect combination for an afternoon spent wandering aimlessly around town.

What’s the best piece of advice you could give the readers of The Pupil Sphere?

Whatever it is you want to do, do it. I was hesitant at starting out on my new path as a photographer but I seized a few opportunities I saw and I’m having so much fun doing something that I considered as a hobby, seriously.


All images copyright of Keir Birchall


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