Sweet Ruin: The Brooklyn Domino Sugar Refinery


  • $7,400

  • Ended

A stunning photography book about the abandoned factory, its history, and the surreal interior during its final days standing.


  • $7,400

  • Ended

I’m making a photography book about the Domino Sugar Refinery. This Brooklyn icon was the biggest sugar factory in the world for much of the last 150 years. I was the last photographer given access to this mind-blowing place before its demolition.

My photographs will be at the core of the book, along with vintage photos from the Library of Congress and the Brooklyn Historical Society. There will be a historical essay that brings to life sugar’s role in Brooklyn’s economy and immigrant culture, and in Caribbean slavery and indentured servitude. I’ve also written a personal essay on ruins in contemporary visual culture, and why we’re so drawn to them. And there will be stories from former Domino workers I’ve met along the way.

I’m interested in the stories behind the pictures, and also in the visual thrill—their dense, almost overwhelming tangle of lines and textures. Domino offered more detail and more chaos than any other landscape I’ve visited. I’ve accepted the challenge by letting as much into the frame as possible, while still trying to hold together a coherent picture.

The Front Room Gallery (near the Domino site) has offered to mount an exhibition of prints, to coincide with the launch of the book.

Favorite perk ($60)

A signed copy of the book, a signed 8.5″ x 11″ print from the project, printed on standard glossy paper, plus a signed 4×6″ thank-you postcard, with a picture from the project.

I’ll thank you by name on the project’s Facebook page.

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