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Calling the shots at Heathrow

Dennis Stone's photography tenure at Heathrow numbers a vintage 64 years. This makes him the airport's longest serving resident photographer, allowing him to capture stars such as Frank Sinatra and the Beatles. The result is in a newly-published book entitled 'A Life At The Airport: A Heathrow Photographer.’ Sat Bal (28 Sep 10) 

Stone's achievement has also been honoured with a key to the airport, giving him the freedom of the terminals, and an exhibition of his photography at Heathrow's Terminal 5. 

A Life At The Airport is a fascinating document of the history of Heathrow, its VIP traffic and of Stone himself. Indeed, the 78-year old's first job at the airport was as a 14-year old messenger boy with the then BOAC airline when the era of Stratocruiser aircraft reigned (see
headline pic).
The McCartneys: "Paul didn't mind his kids being photographed in the early days. This is in the BOAC era when they'd disembark planes onto the tarmac." Dennis Stone

Life's curious twists meant that while Stone failed in his dream to be a pilot his creative talent saw him emerge from BOAC's press department to take a "proving flight" to South Africa. This assignment opened cabin doors to the many new flight routes that were emerging at the time and assured his position as a high flier.
  Clint Eastwood circa 20 yrs ago                           Lord Richard Attenborough

In the 1950s there was no division between arrivals and departures and security was just an afterthought so it was relatively easy for Dennis Stone to capture the likes of Cliff Richardwho was happy to oblige. And so were Nelson Mandela, the Dalai LamaClint Eastwoodand countless others. Bar Hugh Grant, Liam Gallagher and Prince (who's snapped running to escape Stone) the book sets the tone of a photographer who's more media ally than media intrusion. 
(L) Richard Branson and Pamela Anderson  "This was a promotional trip to New York to celebrate Virgin's 20th birthday. I liked the fact that she put Richard's hat on as it's all co-ordinated."

(R) Joan Collins "She has JC on her luggage of course, which I think is great!" 


Dennis Stone continues to work three days a week at the airport and his pictures are regularly featured in the national press.

What they said:


“I feel very fortunate to have worked at Heathrow for the past 64 years carrying out a job I see less as work and more as a passion. I have made many good friends here and been privy to a world that has allowed me to capture unique moments and events. I am often asked about my job and the people I have met along the way, so it is an honour that my stories and photographs are to be preserved and shared with passengers.”  Dennis Stone 
Colin Matthews hands over the key to Dennis Stone


“These days it is unusual to work in one place for 20 years let alone 64.  Dennis has witnessed phenomenal advances in aviation and has photographed Heathrow's transformation from a small airfield to one of the world's busiest hubs for global connections.  There have been thousands of notable events, but surely it is the personalities travelling through Heathrow every day which have provided such a rich source of images and emotions." Colin Matthews, CEO,  Heathrow 

"As my parents usually travel with me on most milestone flights we make, Dennis has become firm friends with them too. I'll never forget the time he encouraged my mum to dress up in a stewardess outfit to get a shot of my surprise when she served me a drink. It's just one of many examples of Dennis' fun-loving, cheeky personality, as well as his amazing way of making people feel special."  Sir Richard Branson
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