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