Ty Greenlees grew up in Doylestown, Ohio where he received his first camera as a 7th birthday gift. His father recognized his intense interest in photography and taught him the finer points of manual rangefinder cameras. After saving his lawn mowing money, Greenlees assembled an odd collection of cameras and darkroom equipment from yard sales and friends to launch his photography career in 1980 as the Chippewa High School yearbook photographer. Having always been an aviation enthusiast, he was now equipped to capture images of the flying machines he admired.
Seizing an opportunity to get closer to cameras and flying machines, Greenlees moved to the Dayton area to work at Click Camera after graduating from high school and entered Wright State University’s Communication Program in the fall of 1984 – a mere two miles from the cow pasture where the Wright Brothers crafted the art of powered flight. A portfolio of his high school photography work earned Greenlees a part-time photographer position at the Dayton Daily News that same year.
The Dayton Air Show was the highlight of his summers during his teenage years and the Dayton Daily News was more than happy to accommodate his request to swelter in the July heat to photograph jets, planes, parachutes and helicopters.
Earning a bachelor’s degree in communication from Wright State University, 1988, while working at the newspaper, he found a niche for his love of photojournalism and flying in Dayton, the Birthplace of Aviation. Greenlees covered the Dayton Air Show with Dayton Daily News writer Timothy R. Gaffney from 1985 though 2006 capturing thousands of photographs of show planes and the people who make them fly. The culmination of this work was published in 2008 in a book titled: The Dayton Air Show, A Photographic Celebration. A licensed airplane and helicopter pilot, Greenlees teamed with Gaffney in 1997 to fly a small airplane across the country photographing and reporting about general aviation in a series called “Spirit of Flight” which earned the Max Karant Award for aviation journalism from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.
Greenlees has utilized his love of flying and artistic eye to capture unique images of people and places of the Dayton region through his work for the Dayton Daily News over the past 25 years and was awarded the Associated Press Contributing Photographer of the Year in 2008.
Greenlees’ work has appeared in numerous publications including the Wright State Guardian, Dayton Daily News, The Dayton Air Show, A Photographic Celebration, 2008, Orange Frazer Press, A Place Called Home, 2006, Orange Frazer Press, Associated Press, New York Times, University of Dayton, Dayton Development Coalition, Miami Valley Research Park, Smithsonian Air & Space, Udvar-Hazy Museum, Women in Aviation International, Ohio Magazine, National Aviation Hall of Fame and the National Aviation Heritage Foundation.