That biker woman snuggling up to Vice President Joe Biden in the much-discussed photograph taken at an Ohio diner? She’s not sitting in Biden’s lap, says the Associated Press photographer who took the shot.
You can hardly blame folks for reaching this conclusion. After all, Biden and the woman aren’t separated by much, and it’s tough to discern the seating arrangement.
But photographer Carolyn Kaster says there was no lap-sitting. The way it all unspooled was classic Biden. He was making his way through Cruisers Diner in Seaman, Ohio, glad handing and joking and mugging for the cameras. Kaster was the only still photographer in the pool following Biden and took a look at the scene in the diner.
Behold! Kaster saw something worthy at one end of the room. There was a group of bikers clustered at three or four of the tables. It was with those folks that Kaster wanted to catch Biden. “That would be the picture,” Kaster recalls thinking. “They had leather vests and bandannas and a guy with tattoos. Everybody seemed to be having a good time.” Kaster let the vice president’s people know that this was the picture she valued.
Chances for such a choice shot, though, appeared to be dashed by the vice president’s handlers, who escorted the reportorial contingent from the diner before Biden reached the biker group. “They pulled us out,” says Kaster.
But wait! “They came back and got me,” says Kaster.
Once back inside, Kaster didn’t miss much. The woman with whom Biden made campaign-trail photographic history, says Kaster, was originally on the other side of the diner’s aisle. People were taking pictures of the vice president, recalls Kaster, and the woman wanted in. So Biden took action. “He pulled the chair in front of the table so she could be in the picture,” says Kaster, noting that there was nothing so cozy as lap-mounting; it was all on the level.
Capturing the sweet shot, though, required a bit of concentration. Kaster says that the moment that has stirred so much comment occurred just after someone was taking a photo of the group. They were all posing for that photo, says Kaster.
After the photo was taken, she notes, everyone relaxed a bit. It’s only human nature: People are tense just before a posed picture. After the shot, she says, there’s a “moment of relief when you can actually be yourself.” And if there’s ever a guy who you want to catch being himself, it’s Biden.