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A Lens on Inspiration with David Birkin
December 1, 2023

Renowned artist, Senior Lecturer, and former WUS pupil, David Birkin, brought a snapshot of inspiration to our school this week. His engaging talk not only delved into artistic expression and his personal journey in the world of photography but also explored the limitless potential of transforming anything into art.

Returning, this time as a guest speaker, David revisited our school after recently judging our 2023 Photography Competition. His insights into the creative process and artistic transformation have contributed to our pupils fostering a deeper appreciation for the world of photography.

David captivated the entire school with his articulate and thought-provoking presentation on art. He explored the nuanced and subjective nature of art, delving into his own rich experiences and personal journey within the field.

Birkin shared his artistic evolution, emphasising the importance of exploring your interests and finding your own artistic expression. He recounted his many interests, from being a young actor to his time as a conservation volunteer at an orangutan rehabilitation centre. It was during this period that he discovered his true passion for photography, a journey that began his career as an artist.

Throughout his talk, Birkin highlighted some of his unique projects, such as the “Confessions” series, where individuals shared secrets in front of a vintage large format camera. He also discussed his use of skywriting and aerial photography for art installations, offering a glimpse into the diverse and creative aspects of his career.

The assembly concluded with an engaging Q&A session where various topics were discussed, including the evolving role of AI and smartphones in photography, as well as the influence of literature and science on his work.

He also took a moment to reflect on his time at Westminster Under School, expressing his fond memories from his time as a pupil here and gratitude for the opportunity to judge the recent Photography Competition.

The competition showcased the incredible talent of pupils from Year 3 to Year 8. Winners and runners-up were announced for each year group, celebrating not only artistic expression but also providing a platform for young photographers to have their work evaluated by a professional in the field. In Year 3, David emerged as the winner, with Miles as the runner-up, and highly commended awards were given to Christopher, Alexander, and Sam.

Elin secured the winner’s position in Year 5, with Max as the runner-up. The Year 6 category saw Edgar named as the winner, Mikail as the runner-up, and Zixiu receiving a highly commended mention.

Year 7 winners included Henry, Franklin, and a list of highly commended students: Lucas, Leonardo, Zayd, Ari, Arki, and Alban. In Year 8, Marc came in first place, with Harvey as the runner-up. Alexander and Max received highly commended recognition.

Many thanks to David for an inspiring talk about art and his career, and we eagerly look forward to welcoming him back again soon.

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