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