I started taking photos of dog poop bags along the trails by the Potomac River after I started to notice something odd: In virtually all cases, the dog poopers had carefully placed their bags by something, on something, in something, or tied to something.
This was clearly an aspect of human behavior that needed to be documented. And so I set off to do just that.
Over time I found that my photos of these little plastic sacks, each with its unique cargo, served as more than mere documentation about the workings of the human mind (see ‘The Poop Bag Puzzle’). I began to appreciate how many of them challenged—and occasionally complemented—their natural settings with visual statements about the relationship between man and nature. Some even aspire to rise to the level of art (see ‘Poop bag portraiture’).
Following below is what may be the world’s first photographic excursion into the world of dog poop bags. Each photo has a message, and many can even lay claim to a certain kind of beauty, some even bordering on the sublime.
An addition to nature’s palette.
Dog pooper will be back for this one.
The security of a good tree trunk.
In a grip of iron and concrete.
A nice day for a walk–or just leaning against a tree.
A simple overhand knot is all it takes.
Here’s at least one bag that will be reunited with its owner.
Bridge over the C&O Canal.
Poop bags making their escape.
Celebration of spring.
Sentinel on the Potomac River.
Don’t let your poop bag get too close to the river.
Composition with rocks.
Can’t decide on which post? Put it in the middle!
While dog poopers favor oaks, beeches will do in a pinch.
Crushed by branches blown down by a windstorm.
Spot of color on a government-issue sign.
A poop bag emerges from hibernation.
Somehow it just landed there.
Fresh and plump.
Revealed by the springtime thaw.
A sign misses one important detail: a poop bag at its base.
A classic spot at the base of a mighty oak.
A dangerous river, even for poop bags.
Yellow swallowtail stalks a partially hidden bag.
Flattened on a storm sewer cover.
Glowing in the afternoon sun.
A designer bag proudly sits on an oak stump.
Late afternoon n a bed of duckweed.
It’s a threesome.
In good company.
A composition in green and blue.
Sitting proud, with the C&O Canal in the background.
Nice looking car.
An aristocrat of poop bags.
Sunny accent for a common curbside (photo courtesy of Roberto Rodrigues).
Poop bag parked in a no parking zone.
Ears in the relaxed mode.
No permit needed for poop bags.
Something new at Mile 11.
A poop bag contemplates a fork in the trail.
A poop bag punctuates a sign telling people to tend to their trash.
Historical marker describes canal houses.
Cherry blossom time.
A carefully placed offering peeks out of a storm sewer vent.
A geranium would have also been nice.
An ornament hangs in a reflected tree.
On a bluff over the Potomac River.
By next day a windstorm had blown it into the canal below.