Technology has made some strides since Steve Fleenor first picked up a camera. Back then “instant” photos didn’t appear on an LED screen a millisecond later; they took about a minute to develop. His Polaroid Swinger, which produced a dozen or so prints before the bulky film pack had to be replaced, was a far cry from the Nikon D700 and memory card he uses today. But one thing has remained constant through the years: Steve’s passion for telling stories by capturing special moments.
“To me,” Steve says, “photography is a powerful means of projecting poignant subject matter, even more so than video. A photo provides the opportunity to contemplate, internalize and reflect.”
Steve says his involvement with Flight1 was something of a happy accident. “I’ve known Marcus for some time, working as we do in the same area at Eli Lilly, and through one of those fabled serendipitous chance conversations, my need to photograph people and his need for a photographer ran into each other.” The results have been stunning. Steve has captured the full range of emotions our Courageous Fliers experience, from hesitant apprehension to triumphant joy and everything in between.
For Steve, that’s what it’s all about. “I still get a huge thrill out of the sincerity I have captured as the images progress from the child’s arrival at the airport, through their successful completion of their flight and the coda of signing the logbook. No small facet of this is the joyous expression on the parents’, and oftentimes siblings’, faces as these events unfold. From a photographer’s standpoint, it is deeply satisfying to have successfully captured these tangible, precious pieces of humanity onto ‘film’ for posterity.”
Steve’s fine work tells our Courageous Fliers’ stories. Their first experience in the simulator, their flight, the excitement of success and our recognition of their achievements, participation in ongoing flight-related activities – Steve has captured it all.
“Steve enables people to ‘be there’ as our Courageous Fliers build their confidence,” says founder Marcus Strawhorn. “Flight1 wouldn’t be nearly as successful without his help and that of all our volunteers.”
Would you like to help a child’s confidence soar? Check out our upcoming fundraiser featuring Indycar racing star Charlie Kimball!
– Russell Goutierez
Photos: Steven Fleenor