About the Artist

portrait of Carl Socolow in Mata Ortiz, Mexic  by Andrew Bale, 2007
Carl Socolow, Mata Ortiz, Mexico 2007 Photograph by Andrew Bale

My interest in and commitment to photography, and my current definition of myself as an artist, grew out of my 28-year career as a professional photographer, which began shortly after I graduated from Dickinson College in 1977, with a degree in English literature.

I joined the staff of The Perry County Times, the official county newspaper in 1978, as a reporter-photographer, (self taught in both) writing and photographing feature stories, public meetings and general news in a largely rural-agricultural county of over 30,000 people.

I worked for the next four years entirely as a photojournalist for Harrisburg’s daily newspaper, The Patriot-News (circulation 100,000). Here I honed my narrative and documentary skills on photography assignments ranging from spot-news to feature stories, sports and advertising. During this period the paper published about 4,000 of my pictures.

I founded Socolow Photography in 1984 because I felt a need for more independence, autonomy and greater technical and creative challenge. For the past 22 years I have been specializing in commercial, industrial, architectural and editorial photography. I have done work for such national and international clients such as Bethlehem Steel, Hershey Entertainment and Resort Corporation, Phoenix Contact, and PH Glatfelter Paper; my regional clients include hospitals, construction companies, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and regional magazines. I have published in such national magazines as Better Homes and Gardens, Congressional Quarterly Magazine, Early American Life and Civil War Times and have photographed for numerous annual reports, advertising campaigns and corporate promotional brochures. I have won awards from the International Association of Business Communicators and did the photography for the award-winning American Spirit: A Photographic Perspective.

I have exhibited in group and solo exhibitions in local galleries and my work has been included in the 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 “Art of the State” exhibits at The State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg. I was selected for inclusion in the Lancaster Museum of Art, Lancaster, PA, Summer 2002, “Photo National Juried Competition” and I am a Finalist in The Photo Review 2006 Competition issue

I have been adjunct professor at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania and have granted internships to college and secondary school students. In 2004 I served as a member of an ad-hoc committee of The Susquehanna Art Museum, which was charged with organizing and preparing a juried show, invitational exhibit and symposium highlighting photography as an art form in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I also regularly volunteer as a judge for regional camera clubs.

I date the real beginning of my ambitious artistic work in 1998, when I consciously pursued subject matter unrelated to my commercial work. Lately, I have given this ongoing project the working title “Scenes from Civic Life”. I believe that my work in the northern Mexican village of Mata Ortiz is a natural and organic extension of this project.

One of my “Scenes From Civic Life” photographs was recently selected for inclusion in The Photo Review 2006 Competition issue.

I am a 2006 recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in Photography.

In May of 2007 I received the Artist Showcase Award at the “Interactions" Group Exhibition judged by Alison Nordstrom, Curator of Photography at the George Eastman House for The Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, CO.

I received the 2007 First Place Award in Photography in "Art of the State: Pennsylvania" for a panoramic photo of a primary school classroom in Mata Ortiz, Mexico taken during the course of my Guggenheim Fellowship.