Brian Finke: Flight Attendants

Brian Finke, Flight Attendants

Brian Finke, Flight Attendants: Lily and Azriza, Air Asia 2006

Sara

Sara

Das Foto der sich schminkenden Icelandair Stewardess Sara wurde zum „signature piece“ des in New York lebenden Fotografen Brian Finke. Sein freies Projekt über Stewardessen machte ihn international bekannt. Er zählt derzeit zu den gefragtesten Fotografen in New York und ich freue mich sehr, dass er spontan einer Veröffentlichung in Fotofeinkost zustimmte und meine Fragen beantwortete. Ein besseres Beispiel für Talent und engagierte Arbeit im Einklang mit kluger Selbstpräsentation und zugleich eine passendere Serie für die Reisesaison hätte ich kaum finden können.

Brian Finke: Christy, Southwest Airlines 2004

Brian Finke: Christy, Southwest Airlines 2004

Your published projects were on cheerleaders, football players, body builders – all very physical. The flight attendant series seems to have a different emphasis. Or were you just fascinated by young women in uniforms?

I am very interested in photographing social groups, dealing with uniformity, and the individual. I choose these topics based on my personal interest, such as my two younger sisters were both cheerleaders in high school and college in Texas, so I became aware and fascinated about these cheerleading competitions which led to my first book „2-4-6-8: American Cheerleaders and Football Players“, published in 2003 by Umbrage Editions, but I am also fascinated by unique cultural groups.

The Los Angels Times wrote: “Finke embedded himself with long-haul crews for a few days at a time, capturing the sea of shimmery stockings, pillbox hats and ruby lips in the moments between stowing tray tables and closing overhead bins.” How did you “embed” yourself? I mean: Did you just ask the crew or did you sent a formal request to the airline?

Brian Finke: Sara, Icelandair 2006

Brian Finke: Sara, Icelandair 2006

I worked with the airlines Public relations Departments and arranged for access to flights, flight attendant schools, and introductions to flight attendants to photograph their daily lives.

Did you gain lots of bonus miles? How did you manage to travel all this different airlines? Did you go on board exclusively for the project?

I work with lots of magazines here in NYC and had proposed various flight attendant related stories dealing with travel and fashion.

Brian Finke: David, Song Airlines 2005

Brian Finke: David, Song Airlines 2005

The light looks extremely professional. Would you reveal your lighting secrets?

Happy to share my lighting techniques.  I work a combination of Quantum Q Flashes, some help off camera by an assistant, bouncing the flashes off the ceiling of the air crafts or hitting a highlight on the subject.  I would use a Canon 580 EX2 on camera to act as a fill or main flash.

Since last year your “Flight Attendants” series has been published and exhibited widely. Did you shoot the Air New Zealand Campaign as a result?

Yes, the art buyers and art directors at Albion in London, the ad agency that produced the campaign, had seen my Flight Attendant book.

Brian Finke: Icelandair 2006

Brian Finke: Icelandair 2006

Are you mainly doing commercial work these days or did you start another personal project?

I am always shooting commercially and working on personal projects, I really enjoy them both creatively and how they can feed one another.  This coming month I am photographing for The New Yorker, who is a regular client, along with editorial stories for Bon Appetit Magazine such as roof top parties in NYC and July 4th BBQs in the Hamptons, and shooting for a series of portraits of college graduates in 10 US cities for Glamour magazine.  I am also starting a new personal project this summer, photographing Construction Workers on various job sites around NYC.

You worked on fascinating projects, you do have an exemplary, Google-friendly website, and you work with agents and galleries. You live in New York, you are successful. (What more could a photographer wish?) Any self-promotion tips for the poor guys overseas?

Very simply, I just work very hard at what I do.  I am always working on personal projects which is what brings in my commercial assignments.