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.
Crushed by branches blown down by a windstorm.
A simple overhand knot is all it takes.
A dangerous river, even for poop bags.
In a grip of iron and concrete.
By next day a windstorm had blown it into the canal below.
Cherry blossom time.
An ornament hangs in a reflected tree.
Yellow swallowtail stalks a partially hidden bag.
No permit needed for poop bags.
Poop bags making their escape.
Fresh and plump.
Sunny accent for a common curbside (photo courtesy of Roberto Rodrigues).
Dog pooper will be back for this one.
A classic spot at the base of a mighty oak.
An aristocrat of poop bags.
Sentinel on the Potomac River.
Glowing in the afternoon sun.
A poop bag emerges from hibernation.
On a bluff over the Potomac River.
Nice looking car.
Here’s at least one bag that will be reunited with its owner.
A carefully placed offering peeks out of a storm sewer vent.
Bridge over the C&O Canal.
A designer bag proudly sits on an oak stump.
It’s a threesome.
While dog poopers favor oaks, beeches will do in a pinch.
Sitting proud, with the C&O Canal in the background.
In good company.
A sign misses one important detail: a poop bag at its base.
Historical marker describes canal houses.
Something new at Mile 11.
A nice day for a walk–or just leaning against a tree.
Don’t let your poop bag get too close to the river.
Late afternoon n a bed of duckweed.
A poop bag punctuates a sign telling people to tend to their trash.
Spot of color on a government-issue sign.
Ears in the relaxed mode.
Somehow it just landed there.
Composition with rocks.
The security of a good tree trunk.
A poop bag contemplates a fork in the trail.
Revealed by the springtime thaw.
Celebration of spring.
An addition to nature’s palette.
A geranium would have also been nice.
A composition in green and blue.
Poop bag parked in a no parking zone.
Can’t decide on which post? Put it in the middle!
Flattened on a storm sewer cover.