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