The Port of Houston

This photo essay features images of the Port of Houston, the busiest port for deep-draft vessels in the United States, made by photographer Daniel Kramer. Here’s what’s behind the essay, in his words:

The port includes both public and private terminals along the Houston Ship Channel. Geographically, the ship channel begins five miles east of Houston,Texas, and runs through one of the largest petrochemical complexes in the world, then terminates 52 miles later in the Gulf of Mexico. A 2015 study by Martin Associates showed that the port impacts 2.7 million jobs in the U.S. economy.

I accompanied one vessel from a dock in the upper reaches of the ship channel to the Gulf of Mexico—a journey of some seven hours. It was truly awesome to see a vessel the length of a football field maneuvered so effortlessly down such a narrow channel—at night. At the end of the trip and while still underway in open ocean, we climbed down the side of the ship onto one of the Houston Pilot Boats where I spent one very sleepless, seasick night. The pilots are aided in their navigation by one of the 50 members of Houston-Galveston division of the United States Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service.

For me, part of the allure of photographing workers of the Houston Ship Channel was my appreciation for Mark Twain, who was a pilot on the Mississippi River, and Sterling Morrison, guitarist for the Velvet Underground, who spent time as a tugboat captain on the Houston ship channel. After 10 weeks, I feel that I am just getting going. Every shoot I learn more and more leads open up. Almost to a person people were friendly and helpful and proud to show off their work and their ship channel. I’d like to thank those who graciously allowed me to photograph a little bit of their lives.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Al Bello / Getty

    Socializing in a Pandemic, Protected by Plastic

    Schools, restaurants, workplaces, and shops have installed plexiglass shields and plastic curtains, tents, and screens as measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, leading to a new social landscape of clear-plastic barriers.

  • CSNafzger / Shutterstock

    Idaho: Images of the Gem State

    A few glimpses of Idaho’s landscape, and some of the animals and people calling it home

  • Brynn Anderson / AP

    Photos of the Week: Sydney Fog, House Hat, Crow Pursuit

    Skiing in the French Alps, flooding in Michigan, a drive-through burlesque in Las Vegas, disinfecting streets in Buenos Aires, social-distancing rings in Turkey, a fawn rescue in Germany, and much more

  • Elaine Cromie / Getty

    Ramadan 2020: A Holy Month During a Pandemic

    Images from the past month of people observing Ramadan in a changed world