This photograph is from a series called ‘Sustenance’ by the photographer Neeta Madahar. The series records the feeding activity of birds over the space of a year, as shot from Neeta’s balcony in Framingham, USA.

By keeping the view constant, Neeta draws our attention to the effects of the changing seasons, and the differences and consistencies in the birds’ behaviour. Neeta used a large format camera with a strong flash in order to freeze an energetic scene in a split second, capturing the birds in a flood of bright light.

Neeta Madahar, Sustenance 104, 2003. Part of the Paintings in Hospitals collection.

The intense detail and colour of the images give them a surreal quality, and allows the viewer to feel like an invisible presence within an intimate scene.

The series is intended to explore issues of home, migration and belonging; Neeta is interested in examining the complexities of human domesticity through the behaviour of birds. She believes that birds are similar to us in the way they feed and socialise and sees them as a natural symbolic extension of ourselves.

The series was shown at 2004 Arles Festival and is also held by the Government Art Collection, the V&A and the Fogg Art Museum in Boston.

Key facts: We have six works by Neeta Madahar in our collection.

See more from our art collection...