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