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

  • Josselin Cornou

    Winners of the 2017 Sony World Photography Awards

    The Sony World Photography Awards has announced the winners of its Open categories and National categories for 2017.

  • Alexander Utkin / AFP / Getty

    Anti-Corruption Protests Across Russia

    On March 26, 2017, thousands of Russians rallied across the country to protest government corruption, in one of the largest opposition demonstrations in years.

  • Eliot Blondet / Corbis via Getty

    Photos of the Week: 3/18–3/24

    The "Sydney Skinny" in Australia, a terror attack in London, Newroz in Iraq, President Trump behind the wheel, and much more.

  • Viktor Drachev / AFP / Getty

    Today Is National Puppy Day

    In the spirit of the day, I feel obligated to share some of these adorable images of pups around the world, and through the years.

Join the Discussion