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2013 February 20

Life On The Outside With Sharon Socol

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Sharon Socol (middle) avec Mr. and Mrs. H Sharon Socol (middle) avec Mr. and Mrs. H
Billy Farrell Agency
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(NEW YORK) Plus one, much? Sharon Socol took her love of photography and her VIP social calendar and turned it into a just released book, Plus One: An Outsider’s Photographic Journey Into The World of Fashion. Last night at the Madison Ave. Barney’s New York flagship, some of Socol's impressive pals including Narcisco Rodriguez, Simon Doonan, Tommy and Dee Hilfiger, David Neville, Marcus Wainwright, Gilles Bensimon, Jenna Lyons, Courtney Crangi, and Thakoon Panichgul came out for cocktails to celebrate the launch of the book. Socol tells The Daily how she got such behind the scenes access and about her genuine thrill in landing in Barney's window. (It's not just because of her hubby's former gig. She's lovely!)
BY EDDIE ROCHE 

Congrats on the book! How did you get such amazing access?
The access came strictly because [my husband] Howard (Socol) was the CEO of Barney’s. Otherwise I would’ve never experienced this at all. He would get invitations to events that would always include a plus-one; the logical choice was me!

Is Howard retired now?
He is! For four and a half years.

Did you carry your camera with you everywhere?
No, but a lot of the time I do. Especially if I feel like I want to explore where I’m going or what I’m doing. That’s how photography works for me. It’s my way of making something that’s unfamiliar familiar.

Was 2001 the first time you started shooting fashion?
Yes. I don't think I was shooting fashion as it's usually shot by photographers who make a living doing that. I was more of a street photographer; that's what I consider myself to be.  

What were some of your early memories of shooting the scene?
As we all remember, Marc [Jacobs] shows were notoriously late. That gave me a lot of time to look around and watch interactions during this long period of time, whether it was a celebrity, someone in the fashion world, photographers, or just the crowd. The show took place in all of maybe 20 minutes, Marc walks down the runway to applause, and then all of a sudden every single person is now squeezed into this narrow hall trying to get out of the building and onto the next show! I realized something was going on during the 'before' and 'after' moments. We all got equalized! I was very curious about that idea.

Which other designers are featured in the book?
Narcisco Rodriguez, Martin Grant, and a couple shots of John Varvatos. but unless I identify it you won’t necessarily know it. There's also Tommy Hilfiger, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Dries Van Noten, to name a few.

Do you enjoy shooting front of house or backstage more?
All of it. I went to the parties too. We threw a Barney’s event at our home. I wanted to be that bird flying overhead looking at the entire thing.

What are your favorite parts of the book?
There are quite a few images I just love. Some of them are kind of fun; some are just beautiful. I love the one of Isabella Blow: It's got a very mystical, ethereal quality to it. I like the surprise that occurs when you are intuitively photographing. Then, when you come back and see it, things seem to line up that you never realized were there while shooting! I’m not a real conceptual photographer; I’m not good at organizing people into a photograph. I’m much more intuitive.

After taking all these photographs, how did decide this was the time to publish them?
I live a life of being a mom, a wife, a community activist in many ways; photography wasn’t my sole direction. I’ve got lots of work that is sitting in negatives and now is sitting in digital form. Howard encouraged me to share it. I worked with someone who helped me make the transition from film to digital and told me I had something really special. I can’t even think of anyone who I showed this “book” to who didn’t say you’ve got to keep doing it. No one said stop, so I just kept on going.

The book is selling at Barney’s!
It’s actually been there since the holidays on a limited basis, but this is the big launch. I’ve also dedicated a portion of the proceeds of sales to the CFDA.

Did you ever think that you would sell anything in Barney’s?
Never! I went there the other day to sign some books and there it was in the window. Not only am I selling in the store, but the book is in the windows! Whose life is this? It's a lot of fun! It just goes to show you that if you keep on dreaming, your lifes journeys are never over if you keep acting on them. 




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