For the past week the award-winning photojournalist has been in Houston to document the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, which first hit southern Texas in late August.
Davidson is a veteran of this type of disaster — she won the first of her three Pulitzer Prizes for her photos of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005. So when the New York Times was looking for an experienced photojournalist to cover Harvey, Davidson was a natural choice.
“They called and asked me if I would be interested,” reports Davidson, who’s been a freelancer since the spring. Not surprisingly, “I said yes.”
There’s been no shortage of photo opportunities in Houston. “I’ve been photographing water rescues, civilians rescuing families, the incredible damage,” Davidson says. “I’ve seen families re-entering their homes for the first time since the flooding and just breaking down.”
How does Harvey compare to Katrina? “Katrina was like a tsunami. It came in quickly and left. But with Harvey, it’s been a slow build-up. It made landfall twice,” she says.
Twelve years after Katrina, New Orleans still has not fully recovered. It’s likely Harvey will take a similar long-term toll on Houston, the fourth largest city in the United States.
Davidson began her high-profile career in much calmer settings. The Montreal native and daughter of immigrants fell in love with photography even before she enrolled at Concordia in the 1980s. Although she wasn’t accepted into the major in photography program, Davidson did complete a minor in photography as well as a minor in film studies.