(2022+) About the project


Shanna Lucas’s project, From the Ground, Up explores the personal and collective experiences of underrepresented pilots, engineers, dispatchers, and more as they navigate through adversity and awareness efforts from beneath the glass ceiling. Bearing witness through a female perspective, and from the position of a newly appointed flight student, Lucas documents from her (long awaited) first steps in the Aviation/Aerospace Industry, and shows the lift and transformations at work in her home state of Texas– one of the United States’ top regions for Aviation and Aerospace activity for the last century.

"Do not go where the path may lead; Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

With Eyes, Heart, & Mind

on the ground + in the sky

Lucas creates compelling photographs that witness her subjects’ determination, of which she shares, to solve issues of underrepresentation and exclusion, to ensure that minorities not only know representation and opportunity, but see themselves in a future of opportunity that is tangible. To aid in the effort, Lucas has requested of her subjects to write supportive letters to those they represent. These letters are turned into unique paper planes at the hands of her subjects, evoking the power from within as words with mobility, with the power to transform.

"The Maiden Flight," From the Ground, Up © Shanna Lucas. 2022.

From the Ground, Up

is more than a photo project

From the Ground, Up is a free boarding pass to a remarkable journey of discovery, change, and opportunity that does not leave the underrepresented behind in their dream for a better present and future.

Evocative of the long-term work Lucas hopes to accomplish as a photographer and pilot, From the Ground, Up is a project Lucas would like to extend beyond the borders of her home state, as outside evidence and interest has already been expressed as to name the issues of underrepresentation and exclusion within the Aviation/Aerospace industry as non-exclusive to Texas. Lucas desires to make the most of her long-term project within her own journey (from the ground up) in aviation, and holds her vision for photo exhibition and book publication-- featuring compelling narrative, letters, and photographs (aerial, and grounded), within her forefront.

As German photojournalist Hansel Meith once said, “If you shoot pictures all at the same level, you don’t have a story.” A nod to Meith, Lucas takes up this notion in her effort to deliver a unique visual storytelling perspective that explores new heights in the photojournalism we see today.

Skydiver Shannon, pictured middle, descends to land as a contrail lingers above her. "An Aerial Landscape," From the Ground, Up. © Shanna Lucas. 2022. Plano, TX.