Photographer Brian Finke knows the friendly skies. Using magazine stories as a cover, he spent two years jaunting around the globe with some of the sexiest working women this side of the International Date Line. And he’s got the photographs—and knowledge—to prove it. His new photography book, out yesterday and aptly titled *Flight Attendants*, takes you behind the curtain at 30,000 feet.

Below, a few pearls of wisdom from a man with a ton a frequent flier miles…

**How did you get your seemingly unfettered access to the mile-high set?**
I started doing fashion stories about how airlines had hired high-end designers to design the uniforms. Once there, I started photographing during flights and then went to the other situations like in some flight attendants’ homes. I probably photographed on a little over 50 different flights, around 20 different airlines. It was a lot of travel.

**Did you uncover any secrets of the trade?**
The biggest secret was the flight attendant schools in Iceland and Malaysia. They build these elaborate setups in big hangars with all these different stations where they have the mock planes, and things move, and they test out the slides with smoke and fire. It’s just impressive the different situations they put them through and the training, and the tension of this awkward reality.

**Is the flight attendant mystique still alive?**
Overseas I think it still has a lot of that allure and mystique around it. In Hong Kong, people want to become flight attendants, they want to go travel, see things, there is still a lot of that allure around it.

**Sort of like in the States in the 60’s?**
The airlines overseas in general were much more stylish, classic flight attendants. They were much more nostalgic. That was part of the motivation for going overseas, compared to airlines in the states like Hooters and Southwest.

**Where was that photo taken with the two pool sharks?**
Yeah, that’s at a lounge at an airport in Kuala Lumpur. It was just at the end of the day, basically. But of course when they go out at night they’re just wearing their street clothes.

**Do they get propositioned a lot?**
Oh, yeah, I don’t know, man…

Related: Wings of Desire [UrbanDaddy]


  • Russel Brandom