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