Entry Title: "Doggy Divas"
Name: Smita Sharma , United States
Category and Expertise: Photo Essay and Feature Story, Student


Entry Description: In the competitive world of Dog Shows is a class of single women whose dogs provide a vehicle for them to compete among other like-minded Doggie Mamma’s. Their dogs are their most intimate companions who they love, nurture, cherish and adore. Treating their canine companions like spoiled children, they are ultimate stage moms who spend their time and money, clothing and accessorizing their cherished dogs and participating in doggie fashion shows and fund raisers. Ultimately these Doggie Mammas have also found community among other dog women, establishing an identity and place within the complex social networks of New York City.

About the Artist:

I am Smita Sharma. I am from India, the most culturally diverse country on the planet. Born and brought up in the picturesque eastern hill station of Shillong, I developed and urge to explore and understand the diversity that was all around me. The more I saw the greenery around me in the Himalayan foothills, the more I realised that the visual world was where my ambitions lie. To further develop this ambition, I moved from Shillong to Mumbai and Pune in western India. There I completed my higher education and finally, to take the first step towards fulfilling my ambition, I moved to Kolkata to be a journalist. Kolkata is the most diverse and chaotic metropolis in India. To stay in the city is to be bombarded from all sides by colour, endless festivals and people from all corners of India. I joined the media conglomerate Ananda Bazar Patrika as a correspondent and copy-editor. I worked in the online editions of ABP like The Telegraph. Just by being in the city further fed my ambition to be a photographer and capture for posterity the beauty and culture around me. To further hone my skills, I moved to New York and the International Center of Photography. The past few months at ICP have been an exhilarating experience for me. Documentary photography and photojournalism is an art, and like any other art, it required dedication and perseverance. The Big Apple has had a deep influence on me as a photographer. The crossroads of the world is a visual treat for anyone willing to explore it. The road that I have been travelling on for the past few years has seen me go through many diverse cultures, amazing cities and diverse cultures. The road still beckons me to continue that quest which began in Shillong. With a camera in my hand and an ambition that will never die, I am always looking forward to more explorations and more opportunities to take pictures that will add another piece to the massive jigsaw of our Planet Earth. I am Smita Sharma and I am from India.