Portraits of Common British Birds Highlight Their Graceful Motion Frozen in Time

Mark Harvey Photography In Flight

Blue Tit

Renowned animal photographer Mark Harvey is well-known for his fine art equine portraits. His signature style of sculpture-like stillness encapsulates the raw power and grace of the creatures he photographs. But when COVID-19 lockdown began, Harvey looked for a new subject closer to his home of Norfolk, England. During his search, he found the local magpies, blue tits, and starlings to be just as graceful as horses. These British birds are now elegantly frozen in time and space in Harvey's In Flight series.

The photographed birds were wild and free-flying in the Norfolk Broads, a wilderness area near Harvey's home. He had only a brief chance to get each shot as the creatures went about their business. Each resulting image—taken with a medium-format Hasselblad camera—captures the feathery subject in intricate detail, portraying common birds in a new light as graceful dancers and colorful characters.

Harvey's work pays careful attention to characteristics such as the ruffle of a bird's feathers mid-flight. In doing this, his avian photographs question traditional notions of refinement and elegance. “There’s no doubt that the pandemic has forced us to adopt a much slower pace of life. Having lived in Norfolk on and off for over 20 years now, I took the opportunity during the spring to spend more time immersed in the wild, whilst appreciating the nature that is on my doorstep,” he said of the In Flight collection. “Being more closely connected with nature certainly brings a great sense of calm and the closer I looked, the more beauty I saw in these refined animals.”

To learn more about Mark Harvey's photography—avian and equine—check out his website and Facebook. Scroll down to see more of the In Flight collection, which is available as limited-edition fine art prints.

Photographer Mark Harvey's new series In Flight captures common British bird breeds in graceful motion across dramatic skies.

Blue Tit British Bird

Blue Tit

Mark Harvey Greenfinch


Harvey needed a new subject when COVID-19 lockdown interrupted his normal schedule as an equine photographer.

Mark Harvey Great Tit

Great Tit

He decided to focus on local bird species near his UK home that are often overlooked by passersby.

Mark Harvey Photograph Blue Tit

Blue Tit

Mark Harvey Long tail tit

Long Tail Tit

Each photograph shows a beauty of form and detail not often associated with starlings, blue tits, and magpies.

Gold Finch mark Harvey

Gold Finch

Harvey found that the project strengthened his connection with local wildlife.

Photograph British Coal Tit Bird In Flight

Coal Tit

Mark Harvey Starling


He says, “The closer I looked, the more beauty I saw in these refined animals.”

Mark Harvey Magpie


To view more of Harvey's photography and to shop available prints, you can visit his website.

Photographer Mark Harvey Portrait

Photographer Mark Harvey

Mark Harvey: Website | Instagram | Facebook

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Mark Harvey.

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Madeleine Muzdakis

Madeleine Muzdakis is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and a historian of early modern Britain & the Atlantic world. She holds a BA in History and Mathematics from Brown University and an MA in European & Russian Studies from Yale University. Madeleine has worked in archives and museums for years with a particular focus on photography and arts education. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking, film photography, and studying law while cuddling with her cat Georgia.
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