Ridgway, Colorado
May 15
A sometimes artist and photographer, sometimes I write too.  


Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 9, 2009 7:49AM

shooting sarah palin

Rate: 84 Flag




Legacy Books is the largest independent book store in the country. It's a mecca for the local bibliophiles. A sleek and modern masterpiece of layout and design, the store seems to welcome you to spend your time in guilt-free leisure. 


Café Carina is inside the store, a coffee and espresso and sandwich bar with free Wi-Fi and a fully tricked out demonstration kitchen—a demo kitchen!  Legacy brings in a lot of cookbook authors who display their finesse and allows them to prove their books. You can browse, have a sandwich in the cafe and then browse some more. It will take some time—and that's ok, you have time.


Legacy Book Store

9:20 am, about 2 hours before SP arrived.


But it's not just the store that makes this a wonderful destination, it's really about the people that work there. When was the last time you went into a major chain big book box and felt like you'd found a long lost friend in one of the attending staff members? From Teri Tanner, the on-site managing partner, to the part time student stocking the shelves, the employees are proud to be on an exceptional team. They make the store an oasis of culture. Ask any employee what they're currently reading. It won't be a manga graphic novel—probably. 


I was delighted when my publisher said that I was scheduled to have a book signing at the store. I was not disappointed—it was a great experience. I didn't sell many books, but it was fun to be there. They invited me to come back just before Christmas to do another signing. (PDF link)


as you walk in

That's my book! The one with the red pegasus on the cover—Dallas Iconography.



* * * * *



This past Friday, December 4, a juggernaut rolled into town. I didn't see the bus—it was abandoned I think in favor of a string of SUVs. The bus is a myth of sorts anyway since it's been leaked that Sarah doesn't actually travel on the bus, instead opting to jet around on a medium sized chartered plane. Her support staff are on the bus. See our own LuluandPhoebe's exposé on the bus/jet hoax here


Sarah Palin and her entourage descended upon the cozy comfort of überconservative Collin County. I had asked the folks at Legacy Books at my own signing if they wanted a photographer "on staff" to shoot the event. I offered a no-fee license for them to use the images in print or online media in exchange for attribution. They said yes!


This was not to be a political event for me. Since I was going to be wearing a store badge that would grant me better access than even the print, photo and video journalists that flocked to the store, I had to present a detached professional mien. I came to neither bury Sarah nor praise her—I was a face obscured by a camera—a glass and metal proboscis in khaki pants.


Security was tight. They had the head of the Plano SWAT force in plain clothes standing next to the signing table. There were other ex-military folk at strategic locations. I was scrutinized with hard stares. Luckily, I had an orange ribbon around my neck with an attached name tag. I was in like Flint and beyond the barriers. I was spun around once by one of the security people, a woman who looked like she could beat me up in a nanosecond. "Are you a journalist? You're going to have to move back on the other side of the chain...oh, sorry, you're with the store. Never mind."


It was a fun gig. I didn't have to subscribe to the running commentary in the crowd waiting to see her, nor refute anything. But I do have some thoughts that have coalesced in the intervening days since the event. These are somewhat random:


  • I don't think the event was for Sarah to connect with her fans as much as it was for her fans to connect with her. It might be a minor point, but that's the impression I got. That is, the people were ushered by the table very rapidly. The music was amped up enough to drown out most conversations (the music was themed for the event—Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" and the like). 
  • "Hi," "What's your name?" and "Thanks" seemed to be about the extent of the chitchat from Sarah at the table. And even though the fans were rushed through, they didn't seem to mind. They got their 15 seconds next to their own personal rock star.
  • Sarah did not respond in any way to the constant refrain of "If you run in 2012, you got my vote."
  • There was a dais, a platform, outside the front door of the store set up with a microphone with speakers nearby in case Sarah wanted to make some comments to the crowd. She chose not to. In fact, she made no general public statement and was not available at all to any of the journalists present. Reporters were not allowed to ask questions and were kept away from the signing desk. There was one reporter I talked to who was very frustrated. She was from Agence France-Presse working on another story in Colorado. She asked the AFP if she should attend the booksigning here and they gave her a go-ahead. She left with nothing more than interviews with store personnel and some patrons.
  • Sarah signed about 1300 books. 1000 tickets were sold for the event. If you didn't have a ticket—the cost of which was the same as the book—you couldn't get in line. The ticket got you a book and a place in line, there wasn't any additional charge.
  • She usually asked for the name of the patron, which led to some confusion. While she was furiously signing the books handed to her and then pushing the book to another handler, she never wrote anything but her own name. People wanted "their signed copy," but there was no "their" there. The signed books were shuttled to a pile that the customer had to walk to. This was done to keep the line moving—and it had to move since there was a three hour allotment for those 1000 customers.
  • I saw one black gentleman in line. I don't remember seeing any other minorities present. It was not a diverse group, the color spectrum was almost completely homogenous. 
  • Patrons had to drop all personal items, bags, coats and jackets and anything carried into the store at a bag drop. They were instructed to not take photos and to keep the line moving. Some customers ignored the camera injunction once they got through the line and some distance away on their way out, but even that made the handlers antsy.
  • You could not bring your own copy of Going Rogue to be signed. You could only get one or two books for yourself purchased from the book store.
  • Palin's mother and father, Chuck and Sally Heath, and her Aunt Katie attended. Todd and 20-month-old Trig were standing in the background for most of the three hours. Trig appeared to want to be elsewhere and was often seen to be struggling to get out of Todd's arms.
  • Sally Heath, Sarah's mother, admitted that she had not yet read the book. "No one's even given me a copy to read on the bus," she said. (See LuluandPhoebe's link above for info on the bus hoax.) 
  • Sarah was very gracious. She looked everyone in the eye. She smiled at every person that came by. Everyone felt like they had a personal connection to her in the less than 15 seconds allotted to each.
  • She seemed a bit tired, though that did not diminish her high wattage smile. Her eyes were a bit bloodshot. (I was using several very good lenses. You can see a 100% crop— full actual size—here.)
  • Most of the event centered around people having a good time. There were only a few negative comments about "the other side." Except for the live broadcasting conservative Christian radio talk show host going on and on about "the haters" (libruls), there really was only a couple of instances when people were not concentrating on their love of Sarah.
  • People waited in freezing weather for hours upon hours. Just before Sarah arrived, a group of VIPs were escorted to the head of the line. They did not wait out in the cold. Several reporters were seen talking to the them. I asked one of them later what the criteria was for being a VIP and he mentioned that one gentleman was involved in the Bush Library, about to begin construction on the SMU campus in Dallas. It appears that the VIPs had some sort of connection to the party apparatchik. The person the reporter talked to declined to say who pulled strings for him.
  • Everyone—I mean everyone—when leaving the signing table had a big, big smile on their face. The people at the signing loved Sarah and it was obvious they had a great time.


* * * * * 



Okay, I took photos. I'll present some of them here. Probably more than you want to see, surely more than you need to see.* I'll leave it up to you to interpret what they mean and keep my captions to a minimum. Let me mention again that the regular staff at Legacy are an amazing group of caring and kind people. If you're anywhere in the DFW area, you should hajj your way over there.



David Lutz, 24, on the right with his father said "She's just so real. You don't have to peel back layer after layer to understand what she's saying." David was first in line having staked out his position at 10 pm the evening before—13 hours before Sarah showed up.


5:41 am



The kids didn't want to be there. It was about 28°F too.


Having fun!


Still cold, less grumpy, still sleepy.


One of the few proactive "antis"


Homemade fleece burkha.


Really, a delightful person. Her giggle reminded me a bit of TequilaandDonuts (yes, I've met the Divine Ms D).


Dawn finally came. Still having fun in the freezing temperature.


Some were ready for the wait to be over.


Mike Gallagher, the aforementioned radio talk show host and sometimes substitute for Hannity on Fox, live broadcasting the event and author of Surrounded by Idiots: Fighting Liberal Lunacy in America.





Written under "For Sarah" is ""


Wearing most of a fox probably scored some points.


Yay! The doors are open! Oh wait, it's still two hours before she shows up. You know those Disney rides where the attendants open up a section of the serpentine line to give you the illusion of movement? Actually, it was still freezing cold outside. Everyone was so happy to get warm. They only let in a few hundred at a time though.


This was the "holding area" for people wanting to use the restroom. The signing took place on the second floor and the restrooms were on the first floor. They had bathroom passes (!) so they could get back in line on the top floor. 


The scene of the signing. The chain barrier in the foreground right is where the photographers and videographers had to set up. The barrier to your left of the desk is where I was able to stand.


One of SP's fans

Margaret Hill, 88 year old former pastor from Lucas, Texas. "I love Sarah Palin, I watch her all the time," she said. "I think she talks a lot of good sense."


Hill with Dallas Morning News Metro columnist James Ragland.


Finally, Sarah arrived.


SP at Legacy Books, Frisco/Plano TX

She was wearing her trademark red, a kimono top with long sleeves and enormous open cuffs.


SP at Legacy Books, Frisco/Plano TX

She engaged.


Margaret Hill was among the first to greet Sarah—after the VIP line went through first. No, the VIPs did not have to wait outside in the cold.


Part of the Palin entourage included a photographer. She was using a wide angle lens that included both Sarah and the patron. The customers were given a card with a web address to see the pictures, with the option to purchase and the funds going to The card included this caption: "Thanks for going rogue with me today! Let's stay in touch and stand up for our nation together."


SP at Legacy Books, Frisco/Plano TX

Todd was there, as was Trig.


One mother, Stephanie Shaffer of Midlothian brought her son, pictured above, and placed him on the signing table. Truett, 21 months, was wearing a shirt that read, "Don't blame me: I can't vote till 2025." It was the most time that Sarah spent with any of the patrons and mentioned that their boys should get together and play. That was arranged, and it happened right in front of the photographer's pen. The cacophony of shutter releases was startling. Shaffer was delighted. "I've got butterflies."


Sarah Palin look-alike


Sarah Palin look-alike

A Sarah Palin look-alike, Marilyn Phillips drove up from Glen Rose, about 100 miles southwest of Plano. She brought along her 8-week-old grandson Tripp. She even researched what kind of glasses Sarah wears and bought her own Japanese designer Kazuo Kawasaki frames. They go for about $400 without the lenses.






A friend mentioned that she's probablly using a Bumpit™.


Sarah's Aunt Katie was there too.







* * * * *



Thanks to Teri, Kyle, Jeremy, Becky, Robin and all the Legacy Books staff for welcoming me into the store and making me feel like part of the team. 





all images copyright © 2009 by barry b. doyle • all rights reserved 






* I have a few more images of the event on my web gallery space, including photos of the staff and more images of the customers. You can see those here. All of those images are also copyright © 2009 by barry b. doyle and all rights reserved. 



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Interestingly, I did not hear any mention of the words "Maverick" or "Mavericky."

As a side note and notwithstanding the logo of the professional basketball team in Dallas, a maverick is a cow. Specifically, a maverick is a calf that has lost its way and doesn't know where the hell it's going.
Barry, there's a lot more going on at a Sarah Palin book signing than I had imagined, such as the way the crowd is handled, a Sarah Palin look alike, etc. Plus, I would have guessed that there was a personal message along with her signature, but apparently if you have around 1300 books to sign you have to keep the books and the crowd moving! Great shots of the crowd and Sarah Palin, plus the environment of the book store and your story about all of this is fascinating!
The rules for the book signing you describe are basically the same at every book signing. Last one I went to was for Don Zimmer, then-bench coach of the New York Yankees and justifiably obscure (I was only interested because he's one of the principal figures I wrote about in my book, The Year of the Gerbil, and yes Zimmer is the Gerbil.) You're not allowed to bring your own book to the signing because otherwise people would buy books at Wal-Mart cheaper prices to be signed. Your local bookstore shouldn't have to subsidize Wal-Mart.
Thanks John! It was really a fun thing to do, in spite of having to get up at 4:15 am. I was expecting a bit more traffic and crowds when I arrived at 5:15, but it was indeed really cold for this area.
Thanks Con--I agree, the book store hosting a signing event should get the margin for those books.

And I love Zimmer, quite a character and a quintessential baseball man.
And now I'm embarrassed. I assumed anything in Plano couldn't possibly be independent. Can't imagine standing out in the cold for anyone. But shoot, if I had a fox, um, thing to wear on my head, and lacking for many obvious occasions, maybe I'd have gone also, just to wear my fox thing.

Gorgeous photos, glad you were able to infiltrate. And wait in the cold so I didn't have to.
Fascinating and well done photo essay, as always, Barry. The title might set off some alarms.
It must have taken you hours to put this post together, and it was worth it. The photos are so vivid, and you put a human face on the event. Great work.
It really didn't look like a Mavericky event! Great job Barry.
MsM, you're right that much of Plano is not as diversified at other areas in the metroplex, that and the gorgeous book store might have played into the choice to have the signing there as opposed to a Borders in Dallas, or at NorthPark Mall. But, if I may, it really wasn't an infiltration. I really was there on behalf of the store taking photos for them to possibly use at a later date in any promotion they might do. While this piece might show a little bit of my own political preferences, I was very conscious of being neutral and professional on site.

Kathy, thanks for your comment. I did consider the title carefully, and I agree it is provocative, but it is also common language for photographers, which is made clear early on in the piece. I think it will be controversial, and many may not like it.

UT, it did indeed take a lot of time to put together, thanks for noticing that, and thanks for your kind words.

Janie, thanks so much for those thoughts, I was hoping more than anything that the photos would speak for themselves in spite of my commentary.

Thanks Susanne! No, you're right, it was a very scripted event.
Simply fabulous! I was hoping you were going to blog on this when I saw the Flickr samples. A fascinating inside peek. Great job!
great, i mean great lens!
Excellent work as always, Barry. So, did you wind up standing outside with everyone at 5 am? That, my friend, is DEDICATION. :-D

Thanks, btw, for the definition of "maverick". Seems to fit well, no?

How incredible is it to hold a little piece of America in your very, very talented hands?

And Kathy is right on ... this does set off alarms ... the ones that scream, "READ THIS!" Very, very clever!
So - I see you didn't take any of my suggestions.

I'll remember this.

(thumbified because the photos are stunning but your subject matter appears to need a tomato to the head. I jest. Maybe. )
Harry, thanks for coming by. It was a great opportunity, I'm very grateful to Legacy Books for letting me get on the inside.

Bill, I was indeed outside at 5 am...but, unlike the poor wrapped up souls that had to wait for hours out there, I got to come inside to get warmed up. They did have a separate entrance to the cafe open, so that they could get coffee. And they had the most delicious, hot, steamy chorizo egg breakfast burritos available for purchase in the cafe. So, if someone got too cold, they could spend some time inside.

Thanks 1IM! You are too kind.

Jodi! I felt the folk in Minneapolis were able to take vegetable (or is a tomato a fruit, I can never remember) issues into their own hands without any assistance from me.
Great pics. Great post.

What time did she actually show up? Just wondering how long the poor kids had to wait outside in the cold. (and no calls to child services)

I wonder if she pre-signed half of the books beforehand, since there weren't any personal messages written.

I guess her mother is waiting for the audio book to come out.

Great pics. Great post.

What time did she actually show up? Just wondering how long the poor kids had to wait outside in the cold. (and no calls to child services)

I wonder if she pre-signed half of the books beforehand, since there weren't any personal messages written.

I guess her mother is waiting for the audio book to come out.

Two more things:

(1) Can you use your inside connections to find out where she got that coat?

(2) If, hypothetically, I kidnapped Trig ... do you think they would miss him? HE IS SO PRECIOUS!!!
Wow. There are so many parts of this piece that are just stunning to me... not the least of which are your fabulous photos.

But, the look-a-like? With the grandson named Tripp? And the people waiting in the cold for hours and hours? I mean, I know they love her but... I'm not sure there's anyone I would do that for.... especially not a politician.

Really well done post. Should be on the cover any second.
The devil really does dress in red. The bumpit was hiding her horns.
Larry, Sarah arrived just a few minutes past her scheduled arrival time at 11:00 am, a good six hours after I got there, and many more hours after many of her fans. All of the books she signed were signed on site. If you look at the picture of the empty signing desk area, you can see the books piled up in pyramids against the window wall. There were none of those books left when the event was over. Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words.

1IM: One of the reporters on site called her red thing she was wearing "a barong." Does that help? You might check the stores on Fifth Avenue. And yes, they would miss Trigg. Even though some people accuse the Palins of using him as a political prop, I have the feeling that he is well loved. He is adorable though. I think you just suffer from too big a heart.
Everyone knows that she buys ALL of her clothes in a second hand consignment shop in Wasilla.
Very interesting post and photos. She surely is a handsome woman.

I'm excited about your book! Where can I get a copy?

Really great photos, Barry, you will get job offers from this set I think! (Or at least, you could sell some of the shots) I feel like I was there, though I wouldn't be caught dead in that crowd - You were there so we didn't have to!
waking, I really did an actual physical double take when I saw the look-alike, a surreal moment. I heard from a staff member that there was another supposed doppelgänger in attendance, but I missed that one somehow.

Dorinda, ha! I should put in a warning that the Bumpit™ link takes you to their page and it has audio coming at you right away.

Cat, I thought that comment by the guy first in line seemed to speak for itself in many ways. Thanks for your kind words.

Denese, thanks so much for asking about my book. It's certainly a modest endeavor, but at least it's not ghostwritten. You can see/buy it on Amazon here.

Thanks Ardee, I really did look at it as a professional opportunity. I hope something does happen, though it would be very satisfying if it turns out that only the bookstore uses the images.
"Specifically, a maverick is a calf that has lost its way and doesn't know where the hell it's going."

I can tell where she is going: straight to hell, along with the fools who are counselling her to lead all these other fools there for slaughter.

Hurry, Sarah! Hurry.
Interesting - thanks.

P.S. - I wish some of these people who talk about 'common sense' would give some examples.
Wow! Talk about putting the reader in the room with you. Your essay gave us the full tour, minus time spent standing in line, and the whole bathroom passes thing. I was most taken by the people at the event. They seem nice. Not like the red-faced town hall screechers. Just folks who think this woman is wonderful. Palin seems to be the perfect celebrity candidate, engendering all these warm feelings along the way. One has to ask, how many would pay the fee and the time for Tim Pawlenty?

Excellent article.
Great photos! How clever of you!
The warmth, the smiles, all the cheer in the images, scare the crap out of me.

Thank God for your commentary. The combination of words and images in this riveting piece that really does put you in the room is unlike anything I've ever seen anywhere. There was no rhetoric to push out of the way to get a fuller sense of the story.

This goes beyond "really good pictures" and brings true intelligence to Palin coverage.
Great shots; as Jimmy said I felt like I was there. And that is close as I'll ever come to attending an event like this. I attended a signing for a cookbook at a winery a few weeks ago. Much different to say the least: no line, I got to chat with the authors and photographer and was enjoying a glass of wine while doing so. Oh, and no pass to use the restroom was needed.

At the event you've recorded here the look-alike with the baby was most shocking to me. I will never understand that kind of hero worship. Thank you for this peek.
Yikes! Great coverage, had a NY pal ask about vid help... Doin' a satirical bit for a show when she shot her way to MOA... Crazy pop culture world we live in eh? Would'a loved to ask her "Why so many pages devoted to her political philosophies? I think the count is 11, maybe as high as 14...RRR
fantastic photos - what a great bookstore to allow you access like this! and i truly am jealous of that fantastic bookstore - we have our own independant here (Tattered Cover) and i love to see other independants around the nation.
Very, very interesting . . . thanks for bringing us such a great POV on the event.
i TOTALLY thought to myself, she's wearing a bumpit!
perhaps this is apocrypha, but I've read that "Maverick" came into use because a certain rancher of that name refused to brand his cattle. "Maverick" came to be used for any cows that were unbranded.

( I read this in the context of the real Maverick's political beliefs being diametrically opposed to those (over) using it at the time.)

And I don't remember the comedian who said it, but i'll paraphrase: wouldn't it be great if all the politicians had to wear patches on their suits of their corporate sponsors, like NASCAR drivers do?

I'll take the "unbranded" one.
These are great photos, Barry. I keep going back to the cafe picture - the lighting and clarity is wonderful (I want to visit this bookstore, it looks fab.) I wish I could take photos half as good as these.

In addition to being charismatic and photogenic, I think one of the reasons Sarah Palin is so popular is because she is not patronizing, as so many politicos are. I think most Americans are tired of someone trying to be a father figure. She has the ability to make people feel like they are a member of the team. She's good as a team captain, but never as the team coach. This is why she is so rudderless and would make a horrible President.
OK, so I am still laughing at the book's title, rouge isn't a positive adjective. But she is wearing a rouge suit so that counts for something.

As for book signings, the only book store i patronize these days is a really interesting used book store with raw wood shelves, "new" additions piled in boxes at the end of the rows waiting for some room and hidden gems in the stacks. Any book signing I saw there was some local author stuck by the door and people desperately trying to not make eye contact with them.
I like your photos, but I really want to complement you on capturing Palin's engagement with the people in line. As has been said over the years, when a good politician works a crowd s/he can make each person feel like, for that moment, they connect with the politician. For the first time I grasp the idea of Palin's personal appeal. Whether you want to call it engagement, connection or charisma, Palin has "it." Her "it" came through on your shots. Very well done.

Quick story about "shooting" a subject. I was in Peru, say, 15 years ago and met a young pro photographer. He told me that he'd sent a letter to the presidential office requesting he be allowed "to shoot (then) President Fujimori." Fujimori's security team didn't take kindly to the request. He didn't get the session.
This was a very interest look behind the scenes at something many of us many never experience...but have now. Great commentary and photos Barry!
There are normal people and crazy people everywhere, it seems.
I wonder how many people were disappointed they didn't get a super-personalized signing? Or maybe just to be in her presence was enough. Shrug. Getting up at 4:00 am? Waiting all night in line? Crazy! It's not like she's a Cabbage Patch doll!
Great photos and superb reportage, Barry. Can't resist commenting on this quote: "She's just so real. You don't have to peel back layer after layer to understand what she's saying."

It reminds me of a line from All About Eve when one of the husbands comments on Eve. "She's just like an open book." To which Bette Davis' character retorts: "Yeah, and every page's a blank."
Great photos and superb reportage, Barry. Can't resist commenting on this quote: "She's just so real. You don't have to peel back layer after layer to understand what she's saying."

It reminds me of a line from All About Eve when one of the husbands comments on Eve. "She's just like an open book." To which Bette Davis' character retorts: "Yeah, and every page's a blank."
I really enjoyed this. What I found especially interesting were the people who commented that they like Palin because she talks sense. In what universe? I find almost everything she says virtually incomprehensible. Part of the problem with the right is that they want simplistic black-and-white answers . . . and we don't live in a simplistic black-and-white world.
I'm with JK, this is just outstanding journalism and photojournalism, period. Your dry, objective (ahem) commentary is priceless, as are the photos. I have to say, the sign Teens for Palin gave me the chills, and not in a good way. All those big pro-Sarah signs and only one tiny Obama card? Wow. (Btw, that is totally a Bumpbit).

Only one small quibble: I want more shots of YOUR book!!
Very disturbing slice of Americana - but beautiful photos!
...something about the electorate in America. We're privileged that you were able to provide us with such a vantage point of the process, thank you, Barry. It strikes me as a good thing Texas all by it's lonestar doesn't elect Presidents; but only shoots them. No pun intended. Your shots are excellent, as always.
Good story, great photos, and I really like your title, but this is all so terrifying. These people are serious.
Thanks for the detailed report -- it was interesting. And of course great photos as always! It's clear she's a natural pol - she really knows how to connect with people who either think like her or think they think like her. I know people dismiss her, but I'm with those folks who think she's more dangerous than people want to believe. I can't believe she's electable to national office but stranger things have happened, especially when times get bad....

(psst: The expression is "in like Flynn" not Flint -- it's an old reference to Errol Flynn who was known for being able to get "in" sexually with many women...and a few men.)
Silk, ha! In link Flint is sort of a pun on the original. It was a movie with James Coburn and Lee J Cobb made in 1967...when I was still in high school! It became a catch phrase at San Dieguito Union High School in Encinitas...but I'm guessing it is a bit obscure
I will corroborate 'in like Flint,' after the movie Barry cited.
On second thought...? It was Flynn. Sometimes I wish we had the capability of editing our comments. ;-)
I'm still trying to get a grasp on these folks who stand in sub-freezing weather before sunrise to get their 10 seconds with her. I just don't get it.
How about a compromise. In like Flynt, as in Larry Flynt?

your Photos are wonderful, as per usual

Being a fly on the wall was fortuitous. Unfortunately, you didn't shoot anything which I could nitpick, Darnit.
I mean, about SP, of course.
Poor word choice. Your presence was of course legitimate, and your descriptions are insightful without being skewed. You did not infiltrate, unlike the Code Pink woman who dropped several hundred bright pink fliers at Central Market. She was an infiltrator.
I loved "In like Flint" - haven't seen it in yeeeeers
God I wish she was ugly. Just that one little thing, change nothing else. Remember Paul Simon, brilliant senator from Illinois? Big ears, fat lips, bow tie? Got nowhere in his bid. Sad sad sad.

Great photos, interesting commentary. Thanks for the backstage look.
Great post. Felt like I was there.
Barry - what a wonderful piece! I felt like I was there (though I really had no clue it got that cold in Texas. I thought it was arid desert all the time. Note to self: leave New Jersey.)

Man, for the life of me, I do not get why this woman is so popular that people would wait hours to see her. I JUST DON'T GET IT. I think its simply because she's attractive - that's it. Who likes a woman who shoots animals from a plane? What a pussy move. Okay, more than her looks, she resonates with the average, ignorant American who thinks its cool to exploit land, talk like a 5th grader and shoot animals from planes.

Anyway, amazing work. Really.

The shots of those two children had me laughing. That's how I'D look if I were there.

Your bumpit link needs fixed. Curious what it is.

You gotta watch more informercials!!!

It's the bangs.

I think they like the fact that she didn't go to an Ivy League college, that her daughter had a 'blessed event' and that they don't like the people that hate her.

Other people like the fact that she will eradicate Huckabee, who is the Republican's worst nightmare.
Wow, Barry! You took what I'd consider a bizzarro-world event and turned it into, well, a bbd post! Good job. Great photos.
You've really captured her appeal. She makes them feel attractive and normal, instead of the kind of people that would drag children to unseasonal book signing. Beautiful picture of Trig. And what a priviledge to look up Todd's nose. Brilliant.
I know how difficult it is to capture the essence of an event, and you sure did a great job. Seems like everyone -- you included -- had fun. How fun correlates to public policy, I don't know.

No matter what you think of her, Palin connects with people in an intimate way. Your description of the churning of the signed books was telling: folks get rushed through, yet are ecstatic for a quick eye-lock with her. That's a skill (and power) that more than makes up for her intellectual and political shortcomings to those who like her and want to feel needed and appreciated and part of a team.

* Beth -- a bumpit is a curved, plastic thing with teeth that goes underneath hair to give it lift; the hair gets teased and pulled on top of the bumpit and then fastened behind. I wore one on Thanksgiving. I have the world's flattest hair, and, with a big assist from hairspray, the bumpit did the trick. I was scared it would fly out of my hair and into the cranberries, but it stayed put like some of those folks waiting in line for their 15 seconds with Palin.

From the looks of Palin's hair, she likely used the biggest bumpit. Mine is medium, and I will wear it again when I go somewhere and want to look fancy.
Great job. I hadn't been to a book signing until now. rated
Finally EP'ed! Glenn had a great post a coupla' days back @ S too!
Amazing work, my friend. Great job at being neutral in your reporting. As much as I don't agree with her politics or what it is her supporters seem to like in her, she does have "something" that draws people to her.

I have to admit that the homogeneity of the crowd scares me.

Wonderful post. Wonderful photos.
It's about time they put this on the cover page...
The Palinites must be orgiastic from this love sonnet.
nice job.
Not tomatoes.
Loved this. Much better than waiting in the cold to see her. Your close up with the bloodshot eyes is powerful in its radiance (and I don't like anything about her). I do have a better idea of her charisma though from viewing your pics, and from your narrative.

A superb job. Thanks for taking the initiative to do this (like getting up at 4:30 am?) and for posting it for us on OS.
I like the look of your book better.
Great piece Barry! Even though I am not a fan of her's, I found the piece to be totally engaging.
BTW, seeing "Dallas" on the shelves was a thrill!
Great photo essay and commentary. Thanks for posting!
Man, I've been tied up and I see this has taken a life of it's own with many more comments.

Thanks to all who've stopped by and for the comments. It'd be too long and boring to comment on each, but let me pick out some that had some questions.

First, let me say that I know the title is a bit provocative...but a cursory reading will show that one, there is no intention to wish or cause harm to anyone—it's common photographers' speak (though I realize it may seem jarring without the context of the narrative), and two, I tried to show in the post that I was neutral at the gig about my own political leanings and that I had many nice things to say about Sarah. I feel that she made gracious and lovely connections with her fans, returning as much love as she could in the little time allotted to each. And again, everyone left the signing table beaming. They were all so delighted to have been there and to meet her face to face. I think the pictures stand for themselves in demonstrating that. What wasn't shown so much was that she reached across a very deep signing desk quite often to touch the hands of the elderly who were present, and to the women and mothers. I didn't see that going on so much with the male patrons, but the happiness on both sides was there with them as well.

Thanks again, I'm gratified that you enjoy the technical aspects of the photography, and the presentation.
Great pictures and great reporting. I'd far rather have Sarah Palin on a phony bus tour aroun the country than in the White House. I'm just praying that over exposure will burst her bubble with enough of the bubble-head faithful before 2012
Great piece Barry. I can't believe the lame hed the eds gave it on the cover.
Chicago Guy/Roger, I'm really humbled by your words...thanks friend.

kmb, you need a road trip...if you pass this way, we'll hit the bookstore. I love Tattered Cover too.

Stellaa, that's a lovely thing to say, thanks.

Marcelle, I must confess that the lens used in that shot of the first floor of the bookstore is an amazing piece of glass and probably cost more than our portion of the birth of our first, the equipment has to have some of the credit's good stuff (Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 seen here.)

Sally, thanks so much for those words...but I should have expounded a bit on the Obama card the guy was was meant as satire, an attack on the president, and had an image of the hammer and sickle. The text on the reverse side of the card was the typical teabagger stuff.

Connie, yes, I agree, I was really lucky to get to do this.

Polly, I did get some shots that were not very flattering of her...but that's pretty normal when you take 400 shots in a setting...I had to change CF memory cards in the cam. Things like half lidded eyes or an unfortunate expression inadvertently frozen...but that's not representative of who she those shots relegated to not usable.

Beth, really...I was freezing my ass off and I had a down leather jacket on...but then I got to go back inside and warm up. Most of the people waiting outside were there 5 or 6 hours before SP showed up, some much longer.

Juliet! ha!

Maria, you've made an important point and the critical one that distills this post...that is how does fun or any ephemera relate to public policy.

Lauren/p_f, thanks so much for coming by.

Madcelt, thanks!

Gary, and to you too, engaging is good.

Shiral, I can say now, that it's all over and done, that I agree with you.

Lonnie, always a joy for me when you stop by.
What's the story with all the security? Is she under threat - does she get death threats? Seemed like more than just keeping people away from a star. Not that I would know anything about how that is normally.
This was a really great photo essay--much better than anything on any news channel! You captured the event beautifully. I can't imagine what those people standing out in the cold were thinking! The bookstore looks amazing--I'd love to shop there at a quieter time.
Great job, Barry!!! No matter your feelings about Sarah, she sure does project an image of a very real, down to earth human being. Her warm genuine smile and her eyes do not lie. All your photos are terrific! What a lucky duck to be so close to the action!
Christ on the cross, but you lot frighten me. Uh, I don't mean the people here on OS; I mean the folks depicted above.
The bumpit link might be my favorite Internet thing of the day. Great pictures and narration, Barry!
"She's just so real. You don't have to peel back layer after layer to understand what she's saying."

CRINGE. I'm literally uncomfortable.

Entertaining post, bbd.
Sarah's "book" is the kind of one-time celebrity deal that killed real publishing. Pornography for the stupid. Rated.
Wow. Well done. This is terrific stuff. The Sarah Palin look-a-like is creepy, but given Palin's cultural celebrity I suppose it's sadly inevitable.

Again, great photos and reporting. And congrats on your own book signing (one I would have rather gone to than Palin's)!
Barry - what a wonderful piece! I felt like I was there (though I really had no clue it got that cold in Texas. I thought it was arid desert all the time. Note to self: leave New Jersey.)

Man, for the life of me, I do not get why this woman is so popular that people would wait hours to see her. I JUST DON'T GET IT. I think its simply because she's attractive - that's it. Who likes a woman who shoots animals from a plane? Who? What a pussy move. Okay, more than her looks, she resonates with the average, ignorant American who thinks its cool to exploit land, talk like a 5th grader and shoot animals from planes.

Anyway, amazing work. Really.
MJ, thanks man, you're my bud.

nerd cred, I don't know the answer to your question, but I assume that they were just being cautious, and by their presence keeping things civil...that didn't stop the tomato thrower in Minnesota though.

Karin, thanks for the kinds words about the photography.

Cathy, yes indeed, lucky indeed. I think you're right in your assessment of her.

Dewy, I thought that shooting the crowd was going to be as equally interesting as taking photos of Sarah, and I wasn't disappointed.

Saturn, I love it when I can bring a smile...and your compliments mean a lot to me.

Jane, I guess you know that I can't edit specific words in comments...have to leave them be or delete them, no middle ground, but I got what you were saying. I really do not think she will run...she will try to influence, but I think even she knows she couldn't do the job. I was wrong about people voting for Bush and electing him in 2004 though...

David, thanks, yes--that was a telling quote for me as well

BOKO, thanks for coming by...I really haven't heard much about the ghost writer, but I'm guessing information about s/he is out there.

Beth, so nice you had to say it twice. I fixed the Bumpit link for you too. Thanks! xo
Actually I wasn't referring to the ghost writer, but rather to the trend of publishing books written by somebody in the news for the moment, which has led to enormous over-extension in the publishing world--and to many more disasters than successes. It has nearly bankrupted most major publishing houses, since it turns out that most people who follow celebrity culture closely, don't read all that much. Who knew? Oh, and rated.
I'm getting a Bumpit for Christmas.
BOKO, thanks for coming back and explaining that for me. And you're right about the culture of the moment...lots of people more likely to take things in from newsbites or tabloids than sit with a book and process the thoughts generated to a conclusion.

Thanks for your thoughts.
Very nice work! Hopefully, next time you'll get someone who is more intellectually curious.
Great pictures. Great effort.
I'm guessing that somebody tied a rope around your waist as you took that shot of Gallagher, which is why you didn't disappear into that black hole of unimaginable density.
Catchy title. Wife does some photography - dog events, mostly. I always tell people she's out shooting dogs.
Enjoyed this, thanks.
I wish to add that I do not know what a bum pit is, but I disapprove of it.
Well done, bbd, beautiful post.
The Republican right wingers are pleased as punch to finally have a pretty person in a leadership role. Sadly there isn't much there there behind the attractive visage of simple Sarah. She is awfully photogenic though and you have gotten some great shots of both Sarah and her family (that one of husband and the baby is just lovely).

Her adulation by so many is disturbing as I think it speaks ill of the general level of intelligence of these people, what is wrong with them, they must be brainwashed.
Are you people figuring it out yet??? She is a national treasure!!!
more great work. keep it coming, barry.

as far as words...the look-a-like lady is truly disturbing...

that is all...
Great post. I can sort of get her appeal in a Sally Fields-Norma rae or Dolly Parton-9 to 5 way but the ignoance compounded by her seeming unawareness of how ignorant she truly is. Or not caring. Yikes!

Like someone else said, I'm afraid she's more of a danger than is currently believed. It wwas Reagan who humbled me in my political prognostications. I thought he'd never be nominated and if so, surely never elected. Now he's Saint Ron.

At some point I fear that I'll take the ancient Claudius's view that to cure Rome, one had to show her the worst: "Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out". Well, that didn't work out so well.
Thanks for the great article and the pics of the beautiful Sarah Palin, bbd! She is such a stunning, gutsy, courageous woman. No wonder she is still electrifying conservatives!
Wonderful shots, Barry! Even though I am far from being a fan of Sarah Palin's, I appreciate that your commentary of her wasn't in the least bit snarky. You simply captured the event - in all of its facets - as a professional photographer should do. Very nicely done.

So do really think she went through with the playdate with the fan?
Great post. It sends chills down my spine.
lots of people for an off year for republicans. she is the future of the party, for whatever reason. politics is hard to understand that way sometimes, but that is how it seems to work: charisma, like Weber said. cool pictures.
She is pretty. She also speaks in phrases and is apparently unable to create a clear thought. She inspires people for reasons I cannot understand. During the campaign, I created the title "uneducated college graduate" for her.
You take lovely photos, please consider a more significant and meaningful subject. I only looked at the entry in case someone hurled something at her again. I wish her no harm, only failure in her political endeavors.
The reason you no longer here Palin using the term "Maverick" is because the Maverick family, descended from Sam Maverick, are liberal Democrats, involved with civil rights and the ACLU ( and were appalled that the conservatives Palin/McCain had usurped their good name.

This is a great post, BBD - and great photos.
Sure. SP is pretty but I'm fairly sure that she farts and queefs just like the rest of the human creatures she seems hell-bent upon keeping at a favourable connect/disconnect. I stand in awe at the American folly of making politicos into rock stars.
Fantastic story and coverage Barry. Wonderful photos. The story and photos are of course much, much more interesting than the subject matter. The guy waiting outside from 10 PM the previous night, does that qualify as stalking?

Most important to the entire story, YOUR book being prominently displayed at the front. That one I would stand in line to get signed.

Fantastic story and coverage Barry. Wonderful photos. The story and photos are of course much, much more interesting than the subject matter. The guy waiting outside from 10 PM the previous night, does that qualify as stalking?

Most important to the entire story, YOUR book being prominently displayed at the front. That one I would stand in line to get signed.

Barry, I was away when this appeared. Everything's been said, but I just wanted to add that this is terrific in every way.
Happy Holidays to you and Eve (and thank you for the beautiful card!)
i refuse to judge sarah one way or the other, but nothing quite beats getting in free, taking some pitchas & selling them on e-bay.
bbd, You were absolutely at the right place at the right time and seized it.

Since I agree with everyone on this thread, there's not much left to say except what I always say at your photography: Exquisite. You captured the moment and everything that attracts them to one another.

Thanks for steering me to this piece. It truly is extremely well done.