After the success of Snow Week and my recent post on That Smell in New York, a reader suggested I launch Shit Week. It is worth consideration. As the parent of two small children and the owner of two dogs, the majority of my domestic life revolves around feces. I sometimes forget that this isn’t true of everyone. Not long ago a friend took care of my dogs while we were on vacation. When we returned home, he told me that he’d devised a trick. “While walking the dogs,” he said, “I realized that I could put my hand in the bag, pick up the poop, and pull my hand out.” I didn’t dare ask how he’d been doing it previously.
I’m reminded of that old Seinfeld line:
“On my block, a lot of people walk their dogs, and I always see them walking along with their little poop bags, which to me is just the lowest function of human life. If aliens are watching this through telescopes, they’re gonna think the dogs are the leaders. If you see two life forms, one of them’s making a poop, the other one’s carrying it for him, who would you assume was in charge?”
There are plenty of examples of feces in the art world: Piero Manzoni’s Artist Shit, Chris Ofili’s The Holy Virgin Mary, Martin Creed’s Shit Film and just about everything Paul McCarthy has ever done. There has even been a serious group show on the subject. But the greatest achievement in this arena is Wim Delvoye’s Cloaca. (Be sure to check out the fantastic Cloaca Website).
But what about photography and feces? Only one example comes to mind – a truly revolting picture by Terry Richardson. I recently posted the controversial question, Where are the People? Now I’m wondering, Where is the Poop? If disaster photography is more successful without people, is bowel movement photography better without the feces?
Excusado, 1925, by Edward Weston