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