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December 26, 2012

A style of her own: Terre Haute native fashions statement with camera

TERRE HAUTE — Being among the fashion elite at high-profile runway shows and VIP parties might seem like an exciting and interesting place to be.

For Terre Haute native Sharon Socol, a photographer, it afforded an opportunity for her to capture  thousands of memorable moments with her trusted Leica camera. Socol was an extra – the “plus one” guest of her husband Howard,  then-CEO of the fashionable Barney’s New York — a status that gave her access to the runways and the behind-the-scenes action of the fashion world.

Socol has compiled about 100 of the photos she took during a 10-year span of travel into her first book — “Plus One: An Outsider’s Photographic Journey Into the World of Fashion.”

Now living in Miami, Fla., Socol was relaxing with her grandchildren on Christmas Day as she talked by telephone about her book. The photographs are black-and-white, and her website www.sharonsocol.com includes a photo gallery to give an inside look at “Plus One.”

The title of the book comes from Socol’s self-described status as the “plus one” on the invitations that her CEO husband received to fashion events. Not a fashionista herself — though she “can pull off dressing nicely” — Socol told the Tribune-Star that she often felt a bit out-of-place at fashion events because she was not familiar with many of the supermodels and designers with whom she came into contact.

“I took my camera as a way to make myself feel comfortable,” Socol said of how her photographic journey began.

She started her almost-decade of shooting fashion photos in 2001, capturing backstage moments with models, dressmakers, choreographers, hair and makeup artists, and the service people who made the fashion events happen outside the public eye.

“Most people in the fashion world might recognize it,” she said of the scenes in her new book, which officially arrives in spring 2013, but is now available on her website. “But people who look at it will see it’s of the fashion world.”

Photography has been part of Socol’s life since she was a child growing up in Terre Haute and had her first camera. A graduate of Wiley High School, she left her hometown more than 40 years ago, but said she tries to return at least once a year, and stays in contact with local friends and relatives.

The introduction to her book includes nods to her Terre Haute roots, and to the fun and thrills she experienced through the lens of her camera.

Socol has worked on photography projects for years, including creating a writing and photography program for at-risk children in Miami and New York to help youths develop self-esteem and self-awareness.

The hardbound book is about two years in the making. Socol said she received a lot of encouragement with the project as she selected photographs and shopped for a publisher. Her book has received exposure in the December edition of Vogue magazine, on newsstands now. And she has book-signing events lined up for February in New York City, and Coral Gables, Fla.

The book is available through Books & Books online at www.booksandbooks.com, and through her website at www.sharonsocol.com.

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or lisa.trigg@tribstar.com. Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.

 

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