A Symbol of Hurricane Harvey

David Phillip captured the distress left in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, with his image of Catherine Pham, and her 13 month old son Aiden being carried from their flooded Houston home, by officer Daryl Hudeck. Phillip’s picture would go on to be a symbol of the both devastation and endurance following Hurricane Harvey.

Images such as this one can invoke a feeling of shock and realization for individuals who are not at the scene. To capture what people can endure, and to see the dedication of the rescuer creates a powerful image. Images like this can create a sense of community and coming together, both in the community of Houston and the national community. Photographs are a very powerful tool that create emotions and cause reactions.

When assessing a picture it is important to note that details of the larger story are missing. Images while powerful, do not have the capability of capturing the entire story. What was not captured in Phillip’s photo was that Catherine Pham’s husband was also saved from their flooded home. The Pham’s home was in an area of Houston known as the Meyerland section, and water from the flood reached the roofs of many homes. Catherine and her son Aiden were rescued via boat, before being carried to a police staging point. Phillip’s picture of Catherine and her son’s rescue, was only a picture of one moment in the Pham families experiences following the Hurricane.

This image became a powerful symbol for the storm and relief efforts. Highlighting the impact that images can have on individuals and the public at large.

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