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