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