Flying the friendly skies, Brian Finke began photographing flight attendants as he crisscrossed the country on Delta, JetBlue, Hawaiian, Hooters Air, Southwest, and Song airlines, before going abroad on Air France, Qantas, and British Airways. In London, he visited a flight attendant school, complete with emergency rafts and billowing smoke. Continuing east, Finke traveled Air Asia, Thai, Tiger, ANA, Japan, and Cathay Pacific. For the grand finale of his two-year trip, Finke traveled the illustrious Icelandair.
The result is Flight Attendants, a vibrant document of those adventurous souls who choose to work at 40,000 feet. Shot before, during, and after trips, at school and at home, Finke’s photographs capture the allure of this high-flying profession alongside the more quiet moments of the attendants’ daily lives. Like his previous collection of cheerleaders and football players, 2-4-6-8, 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 men and women of air travel.
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), Finke has also exhibited his work in New York City, Los Angeles, Paris, Chicago, and Houston, among others. Finke lives in New York City with his wife Lisa Daniels and son Oli.