Flying the friendly skies, Brian Finke crisscrossed the United States photographing flight attendants on Delta, JetBlue, Hawaiian, Hooters Air, Southwest, and Song airlines before going abroad with such carriers as Air France, Qantas, and British Airways.
In London, Finke visited a flight attendant school complete with emergency rafts and billowing smoke, and then, continuing east, he traveled Air Asia, Thai, Tiger, ANA, Japan, and Cathay Pacific.
Finke finished two years of travel with the illustrious Icelandair.
The result of Finke’s wanderlust is his series, “Flight Attendants,” a vibrant collection of photographs documenting the lives of those adventurous souls who choose to work at 40,000 feet.
Shot before, during, and after flights, the photographs capture the allure of the high-flying profession alongside the more quiet moments of the attendants’ daily lives. As with his previous series of photographs, “2-4-6-8: Photographs of Cheerleaders and Football Players,” Finke is drawn to the distinctive dynamics of team formation, focusing on uniformed individuals executing practiced actions—whether on the playing field or in the air. With an eye for the iconic as well as the absurd, Finke seamlessly blends the glamorous with the casual, offering a memorable look at the people of the air travel industry.
Raised in Texas and schooled in New York, Brian Finke defined himself as a documentary photographer at the World Press Photo Masterclass in 2001 and was awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship for Photography in 2004. The author of 2-4-6-8: American Cheerleaders and Football Players, Umbrage Editions 2003 and Flight Attendants, powerhouse Books and Filigrane Editions 2008. Brian Finke’s work is included in several permanent collections including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Akron Art Museum, the Worcester Art Museum, the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Bibliotheque Nationale de France, and the Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts in Japan.
All images © Brian Finke