Trending: The Flooding of Texas - An Update

By David Schonauer   Tuesday August 29, 2017

Southeastern Texas is deluged.

And the disastrous flooding resulting from Hurricane Harvey is far from over. Recovery will take years, experts say.

“The Houston area looks like an inland sea dotted by islands,” noted The New York Times on Monday, “and Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas said people needed to prepare for “a new and different normal for this entire region.”

As of this morning, at least 30 deaths have been reported in Texas, noted The Times. Looking ahead, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Brock Long, told reporters earlier this week that he expected more than 450,000 people to apply for federal assistance.

For photographers covering the crisis, the focus is on the now. Here are several recent stories from Houston we have been following:

1. The New York Times: The Story Behind the Nursing Home Photo

As we noted on Monday, one of the instant icons of the disaster was taken not by a professional photographer, but rather by the owner of a nursing home in Dickinson, TX, a town between Galveston and Houston. The image shows elderly women residents of the facility calmly going about their lives — knitting, in one case — as waist-high water swirles around them. After being posted to social media (by the son-in-law of the nursing home’s owner) with a plea for help, the image went viral and was featured on cable news coverage and newspapers around the world; rescuers did arrive to evacuate the nursing home's residents. On Monday The New York Times told the story behind the photo.

2. Louis DeLuca's Iconic Moment

Dallas Morning News photographer Louis DeLuca was drenched and two of his lenses were fogged over from rain and humidity on Sunday, when he shot a picture that soon spread across social media. It showed Houston SWAT officer Daryl Hudeck returning from a rescue mission carrying a young mother, Catherine Pham, and her son, 13-month-old Aidan. DeLuca shot with his only remaining workable lens, a 200-400mm zoom. It’s not the one he would normally chosen, he says, but it worked well enough: “It was one of those photos that, when he took it, DeLuca knew he had something,” notes Poynter. “AP photographer David J. Phillip was there, too, and shot a similar image that made it onto front pages around the country on Monday.”

3. National Geographic: A Photographer Documents Her Own Battle with Harvey

Freelance photojournalist Erin Trieb is a Texas native living in Turkey who, as we noted in a 2016 profile, has covered fierce fighting in the Middle East. She was visiting family in Houston when Harvey hit, and now, notes National Geographic, she is documenting the devastation caused by the storm, including the toll on her loved ones. Trieb was forced to evacuate her mother and her three dogs from her home. A video she took shows them taking only essential items: Furniture and family mementos were simply piled high on beds and desks in an attempt to save them from the rising water. Trieb plans to continue photographing her family's Houston neighborhood to show how victims are coping with floods. "Houstonians have dealt with floods before," she says, "but this is a much bigger situation than any of us anticipated.”

4. The NPPA’s Safety Help List

For photographers covering Harvey (and other hurricanes), the National Press Photographer Association Safety and Security Task Force has put together some safety guidelines. Among the tips: Before you go, do your research. “Look for the 'Emergency Management' website of the area you will be covering. Bookmark these sites on your phone and laptop and learn how to quickly search for updated information to have all the necessary information to make safe decisions,” notes the guide. Also: Bring cash. And remember: half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water.

5. The Art Newspaper: How Houston Museums Are Dealing with Harvey

Most museums across the affected region of Texas remain closed, and many took precautions before the storm to protect their collections and staff, notes The Art Newspaper. The Museum of Fine Art Houston posted on its website that "our collections are safe, but the Museum remains closed to the public for now. Our thoughts are with our fellow Houstonians.” The Rockport Center for the Arts in Corpus Christi appears to have "sustained serious external damage," according to a Facebook post from its executive director, Luis Purón. The Houston Center for Photography (HCP) "has experienced no visible damage to our facility that we have been able to locate during a brief visit before the heavy rains began again," says its director, Ashlyn Davis. "No artwork has been damaged and our library is still in good shape. We are very lucky."

6. HuffPost: Don’t Fall for Fake Flood Photos

You’ve got to watch out for fake news — and fake photos. But, notes HuffPost, one Fox News personality, Jesse Watters, “got reeled in by a whopper of a fish tale.”  “I’ve seen some amazing things out there just looking at television over the weekend - alligators on people’s back doorsteps. I saw a shark on the highway swimming in the water,” Watters told viewers on Monday night’s edition of The Five. But that picture of a shark swimming on a highway that has been going around social media — the one Watters was astonished by — is a fake that gained steam when a Scottish blogger named Jason Michael McCann posted the it with a misspelled #HurricaneHarvy hashtag. “Of course I knew it was fake, it was part of the reason I shared the bloomin’ thing,” McCann told BuzzFeed.


No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now

Pro Photo Daily