Brooklyn’s Sweet Ruin: Relics and Stories of the Domino Sugar Refinery will be in stores and online later this Fall. From the project statement

Domino’s Brooklyn Sugar refinery, once the largest in the world, shut down in 2004 after a long struggle. Most Brooklynites of my generation know it as an icon on the landscape, multiplied on t-shirts and skateboard graphics. Urban explorers sly enough to breach the gates have found a playground of sublime, post-industrial texture and nostalgia. But what was Domino? What stories were we missing?

In 2013, shortly before the site’s demolition, the real estate developers generously let me in to explore. I had proposed an expansive—even messy—fusion of art, document, and industrial history. I wanted to show the ruin as its majestic self, and also as a lens through which to see the history of the place and its people.

In a sense, I found myself looking at a long-gone version of the country, through a recently-gone company and community, through a soon-to-be gone labyrinth of architecture and machines.

At the same time I found myself working in the abstract, seeing how much chaos I could allow into the frame, while still making a coherent picture. The visual density and confusion of the place invited this kind of formal experiment.

To bring this book into the world, I teamed with Pulitzer Prize-winning photo editor Stella Kramer, architectural historian Matthew Postal, and art director Christopher Truch. I dug through photography and news archives at the Library of Congress, Brooklyn Public Library, and Brooklyn Historical Society. And I met with several former refinery employees, to hear some of Domino’s more personal stories. We launched a crowdfunding campaign to cover expenses, and signed a deal with Schiffer Publishing shortly after the campaign’s success.

Many thanks to everyone who backed the project or lent their support and enthusiasm.

Hardcover, clothbound with dust jacket.
ISBN13: 9780764354120
12″ x 9″
138 color images; 128 pp
$45 U.S.

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Media inquiries: Andrea Smith PR