The Visual Failings of the Heat Dome Coverage

The heat wave that swept the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada in late June was an extraordinary disaster. A mass of high-pressure air over the region trapped heat there, creating a “heat dome”—a term that recurred in news coverage. In Oregon, power

If many images unintentionally downplayed the severity of the crisis, some photographers—especially local staff photographers and freelancers—engaged the crisis with work that rose to the occasion. Some of the most effective and widely-distributed imagery was created by Portland freelancer Nathan Howard, whose photos were published by outlets such as the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington. This shot, for instance, demonstrated how even first responders weren’t physically immune to the oppressive conditions: