Paul McCartney, with his wife Linda and their two children (Mary and Heather), at Gatwick Airport in London, 1971.
“The first image that I found that’s kind of in this genre was the Paul McCartney image with his wife and kids. And I probably came across that while I was doing research for one of numerous Paul McCartney stories I worked on.”
“It’s compelling now because they they just look like an average Seventies hippie family coming in through the airport. But we obviously recognize them right away. And the fashion is so wonderful in that picture. It’s so quintessential Seventies.”
Dolly Parton leaving Heathrow Airport in London after performing at Wembley Stadium, 1976.
“In the early days, people were really happy to pose for the photos. For them it was a press opportunity and a press moment.”
“[The airport], it’s a public space. So you have to be there, and you might as well get used having the camera in your face.”
Prince arriving at Heathrow airport in London, 1989.
“As the years went on, the celebrities became more and more guarded about themselves and their image,” Peckman tells ‘Rolling Stone.’ “You find a lot of photos where they’re not willing participants. But in general, celebrities remain the same when a paparazzo is taking a photo of them in this particular location, because it’s a public space that you’re coming through and that you have to come through; you don’t have a choice. It’s not like you’re being chased down the street in a private suburb.”
Whitney Houston arrives at Los Angeles International Airport on August 21st, 1993.
“But each decade has its own kind of style … Whitney Houston [was photographed] in a Fila track suit that really represents the Eighties. A lot of people were kind of starting to wear athletic wear like that. [The book] tracks everything through the years. So it’s a good manual for stylists or fashion people to have at their fingertips, just to flip through and see how things have changed.”
Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard, and Diana Ross of the Supremes arrive at London’s Heathrow Airport, circa 1965.
“The book is fun and whimsical, because it’s timeless. Because it’s about travel and it’s about fashion.”
Lady Gaga is seen at LAX on October 13th, 2015.
“The style of the photograph hasn’t really changed that much, in my opinion, which makes the book work so well because there’s a uniformity to it.”
“Paparazzi still have one job, where if you’re assigned to the airport, which some photographers were, your job was just to get the shots as the people were arriving or departing from the plane.”
Frank Zappa complete with straw boater hat at London’s Heathrow airport in April 1975.
Interspersed amongst the photographs are quotes that relate to flying or the experience of being in an airport.
“I love Parker Posey’s quote about Brian Eno, and how airports would be so calm if they just piped in his music. I love that quote.”
“Imagine if every airport would blast Brian Eno. I bet going through security wouldn’t be as difficult. I can’t imagine someone being aggressive with me with Brian Eno music pumping through the terminals at LAX.” —Parker Posey
Mick and Marianne
July 6th, 1969: Singer Marianne Faithfull and Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones at a London Airport in 1969.
“It wasn’t necessarily the subject that I was going after. It was really the visuals. I curated a group of photos for this book, and I think each individual photo on its own has its own merit as being a good photograph, which is something you don’t really say when you talk about paparazzi pictures, unfortunately. You kind of disregard them as photography in quotes.”
Come Fly With Me
Jodi Peckman started her 30-year tenure at ‘Rolling Stone’ working on the Random Notes section of the magazine — and never gave it up. While working on that section, she began to notice certain trends that stayed consistent over the years, particularly with photos of celebrities passing through airports. “I would stop on these pictures of people at the airports, and I found them really compelling, because I thought that they were great photographs. Not only just paparazzi snapshots, but actually great photographs in their own right,” she tells us ahead of her new book, Come Fly With Me: Flying in Style (out now from Rizzoli Books).
The book spans the past 60 years, documenting the fashion, styles, and attitudes of celebrities as they pass through the unavoidable public space that is the airport. The collection of images celebrates the fun and nostalgia of flying, and for many the volume speaks even louder now after a year of extremely limited travel. “I think it’s really striking a chord in people who have been grounded and shut down and not able to go any place,” Peckman explains, “Whether it’s for business or pleasure or vacation or anything. It’s kind of dreamy to look back at what was travel’s heyday.”