Doggies and Tiaras

Dog pageants through Sophie Gamand’s camera lens

By Stefanie Gibson

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Photo credit: Sophie Gammand

Their parents spend hours primping them. With perfectly coiffed hair, enormous dresses and over-the-top jewelry, they’re ready to hit the stage. The dog-eat-dog competition is tight; there can only be one winner. No, we’re not talking about any toddlers in tiaras here–in Sophie Gamand’s new work, it’s all about dogs in tiaras. That’s right, now you can get all the pageant drama-goodness you love, but with a furry face (and hopefully fewer psychological problems in the future).

Following hot on the heels of last week’s article about Gamand’s adorable photos of shelter pit bulls, we’re taking a look at her newest series, in which she explores the world of New York’s first dog pageant. This fun and frilly event, called “Doggies in Tiaras,” sees the pooches compete in active-wear, talent and the always-popular evening wear segments. It’s not all about the cute contestants though: with proceeds going to charity, the pageant was a great chance for pampered pooches to show love to their less-fortunate furry friends.

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Once again, Sophie captures so much more than just a few pretty faces through her work. The personality of each dog radiates through, begging us to empathize with each pup’s pageant experience. While most are boasting with pride, one can’t help noticing humiliation and insecurity in others. She captures an equally interesting dynamic among the owners. While it is clear that many of the owners are in the pageant to have fun, it is also quite apparent that there are a few “pageant moms” in the crowd. Sophie’s photography succeeds again in pulling us in, intriguing us, and begging us to reconsider the world we build around and for our dogs.

This images below are part of a fictional dog pageant Sophia organized in her studio to immerse herself in that subculture. See the results and get more details on each of the adorable dogs here.