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