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