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