This is a story of a shoot that took place, but never really happened.
On April 1st, I got a call from Ronnie Weil at The Wall Street Journal, asking if I wanted to shoot Sarah Palin the next day.
After quickly ruling out an April fools joke, I poured myself a Budweiser, open a fresh pack of beef jerkies, put on a Toby Keith’s record and breathed in a paper bag for a couple of hours while texting Brad Trent and my mum for moral support. In that order.
It was the first time in my career that I had to portray someone who I had so much antipathy previous to the shoot.Culturally, ideologically, Sarah Palin and I come from different worlds. I am French, socialist, pro-choice. And I don’t think it’s a reasonable idea to sell machine guns at Wallmart.
I didn’t want to trick her or ridicule her like Jill Greenfield did to Mc Cain a few years back. On the other hand, I didn’t wanted to do a promotional/ propanganda picture either.
I decide to leave that distance between us and shoot her like an anthropologist discovering a new civilisation and trying to describe it as precisely as possible. The “Girls with guns” belt buckle, the “ Don’t tread on me” bracelet.
I am not sure if I am too happy with myself, but I think It’s at least a sincere photograph and sometime it’s all you get…
I appear in the story by the unstoppable Alexandra Wolfe, who does a very good job describing the 20 minutes shoot, the crowded hotel room, the lack of trust between them and us, even my french charm failing. And the PR guy, formerly a president Bush employee, who will most likely not invite me for Thanksgiving…
Fun fact: In her first draft, Alexandra made me appear in the conclusion looking frenetically for the keys to the minibar.