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Flight Attendant’s Photos Show Sides Of Virgin America That Passengers Don’t See
By Yoon Sann Wong, 31 Aug 2017
Image by Molly Choma and featured with permission
For nearly a decade, Oregon-based Molly Choma has been working as a flight attendant in Virgin America. So happens that she is also a photographer, whose images have taken on new meaning after Alsaka Air bought over the airline last year in a $4 billion deal. Now, Choma’s series, ‘The Secret Life of Virgins’, is one that will help preserve Virgin America’s culture after it officially stops operations in 2019.
Choma joined the airline straight out of college. It was only several years into her career as a flight attendant that the photographer started bringing her camera to work. Her “tinkering around” in this craft eventually landed her a photography and graphic design role at Virgin America HQ. She spent two years here before returning to cabin crew, but never stopped capturing photos.
In an interview with Travel + Leisure, Choma explained the motivation behind creating this series, “I just wanted to preserve it, not necessarily for the public, but for my friends and people like me who grew up with Virgin America…Whether that’s people who were there since the start or only for the past six months, I wanted something to immortalize what we have.”
The collection documents the goings-on of Virgin America crew “on [their] downtime, when it’s late, or when a flight is delayed.” Through these photos, which she shares on Instagram via the hashtag ‘#TheSecretLifeOfVirgins’, Choma reveals what employees do when passengers aren’t looking.
Capturing great shots behind-the-scenes on an airplane isn’t the easiest of tasks. Over time, Choma’s learnt several tricks to make full use of the limited light available, such as utilizing a tin foil from meal trays to illuminate a frame.
“The transition is not sad, it’s part of life,” explained Choma. “But Virgin America is very much a family. In the same way that people cherish their family portraits, I hope these people will have these photos to look back on in the future.”
View select images from ‘The Secret Life of Virgins’ below and see more over on Choma’s website.
[via Travel + Leisure, images by Molly Choma and featured with permission]
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