Chicago-based freelance photojournalist, Alyssa Schukar (@alyssaschukar), has been protecting Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath for the New York Occasions. We spoke to her by way of telephone to get some perception into protecting a tragedy with so many logistical challenges.

Alyssa Schukar for The New York Occasions

You knew Harvey was going to be an enormous storm with vital flooding after the very fact. How do you put together for this atmosphere?

I didn’t have a substantial amount of time to organize. I wakened on Friday morning with a observe from an editor I work with loads from the New York Occasions asking if I may go all the way down to Houston. I stay in Chicago. She was making an attempt to me on a 12:30pm flight, however I ended up pushing it till three:30pm, and by 5:30pm I used to be in Houston.

It’s positively a logistical battle right here, particularly when the water was nonetheless excessive. I believe it’s develop into loads simpler although. As I used to be making an attempt to get to a New York Occasions colleague’s home to do laundry, I bought re-routed quite a lot of instances as a result of flooding continues to be taking place. There are nonetheless massive swaths of Houston which can be lined in water.

This jogs my memory in loads of methods of experiences I’ve had earlier than [Schukar has worked in Afghanistan]. I’ve ended up spending loads of time with the Nationwide Guard right here in Houston. They’ve been doing rescue work and restoration work, and that’s been very nice as a result of that’s meant that I’ve had good entry to what’s taking place. And I’ve additionally been capable of journey with them which implies that I haven’t needed to fear about flooding out my automotive.

The reporter that I’ve been working with, Alan Blinder, we misplaced a automotive on Sunday coming into the town once we had been principally making an attempt to drive via a flooded overpass. It’s positively not one thing you’ll be able to put together your self for, however you go in with as a lot gear as you’ll be able to and as a lot earlier expertise as you’ll be able to, and also you type of work off of it from there.

Alyssa Schukar for The New York Occasions

When you had been on the bottom, what shocked you?

Sunday was fairly wild. I ended up hopping on a fishing with two guys who had been going out to the Meyerland neighborhood to save lots of individuals. As we had been going round, we had been very cautious as a result of there have been automobiles floating just below the floor. So if the boat bumped into the automotive, it might probably capsize or wreck the engine. That was definitely not one thing I used to be anticipating.

Because the day went on, extra boats had been on the market, so it felt a bit of bit extra like individuals had been going to be saved. However there have been positively moments the place I noticed determined appears to be like on individuals’s faces, and I felt powerless. I couldn’t do a lot of something for them.

You’ll be able to’t actually put together your self for that. However there have been lots of people that we got here again for afterward the fishing boat who had already been rescued, in order that was very encouraging.

You’re certainly one of many photographers protecting the catastrophe for the NY Occasions. How is the storytelling protection divvied up?

A whole lot of us have been paired with writers. It relies on what your schedule is like and the place you’re positioned. A whole lot of this has been enterprise work – going on the market and discovering one thing that can make for a great story, but in addition having an concept on what the writers are engaged on, and making an attempt for instance that as finest we are able to.

I’ve been working loads with Alan Blinder, and there have been a pair different photographer/author groups, particularly originally of the storm. And now I believe [the story is] transferring onto bigger image items. We’re persevering with to do the tales and pictures of rescue work, nevertheless it’s now transferring to “The place does Houston, the place does Texas transfer on from right here?”

What kind of suggestions are you getting from the newsroom?

Crista Chapman has been working this from New York together with Morrigan McCarthy, and so they have each been fantastic. Poor Crista has been possibly getting four hours of sleep however she’s been an absolute champ – each championing our work within the newsroom and creating areas for that work, in addition to giving us time to get well to care for ourselves, and do the work that we need to do.

We’re positively given a good quantity of freedom. We simply gotta hit these deadlines!

Do you assume the media is doing a great job protecting the catastrophe?

I’m gonna be sincere with you. I’ve not had the time to take a look at what has been within the media. Saturday via Wednesday, it’s been these loopy lengthy marathons. Going round with the Nationwide Guard has meant lengthy hauls as a result of when you exit with the troopers, you’re caught with them.

I haven’t been paying a lot consideration. I’ve seen what the New York Occasions has been doing, however past that I can’t reply that query. I do assume the New York Occasions has been doing an exemplary job.

You’re a freelancer. Do you’ve any considerations about going into an antagonistic atmosphere, or do you’re feeling just like the organizations which can be hiring you’ve your again if issues go south?

I do assume the Occasions has my again and that’s definitely a bonus of a big publication. However I’m nonetheless making an attempt to take as a lot precaution as I can. After all, you’ll be able to’t cease every thing. I’ve positively touched contaminated water. I’m making an attempt to reduce threat as a lot as attainable, however the actuality is that it’s an unsafe scenario, and the water is getting worse right here. And that’s going to be one of many large points going ahead from this primary week – individuals being uncovered to toxins within the air and the water.

This interview has been flippantly edited for readability.

Many photojournalists have been protecting the hurricane and its devastating aftermath. Listed here are a couple of extra doing stellar work: Ashley Landis (@ashphotog), Luke Sharrett (@howdyluke), Jabin Botsford (@jabinbotsford), Andrew Burton (@andrewburton11), Tamir Kalifa (@tamirhasacellphone), Erin Trieb (@erintrieb), John Taggart (@jtaggphoto), Adrees Latif (@adreeslatif), Brendan Smialowski (@bsmialowski), Michael Ciaglo (@michaelciaglo), Steve Gonzalez (@gonzophotoman), Elizabeth Conley (@egconley), Mark Mulligan (@mrkmully), Melissa Phillip (@melissaphillip713), Karen Warren (@karen_warren_801), Yi-chin Lee (@yichin.lee), Brett Coomer (@bcoomer713), Jon Shapley (@jonjshapley),  Godofredo Vasquez (@godovasquez),  Marie D. De Jesús (@mariedennise)

This submit has been up to date to incorporate the workers of the Houston Chronicle