Next up in the 2017 PopCult Gift Guide we have a book of photography that documents the last days of an architectural icon. Brooklyn’s Sweet Ruin: Relics and Stories of the Domino Sugar Refinery, featuring the photography of Paul Raphaelson, is a wonderful gift for anybody who enjoys great photography, industrial buildings or documents of landmarks that are no longer with us.
Brooklyn’s Domino Sugar Refinery, once the largest in the world, shut down in 2004 after a long struggle. Most New Yorkers know it only as an icon on the landscape, multiplied on T-shirts and skateboard graphics. Paul Raphaelson, known internationally for his formally intricate urban landscape photographs, was given access to every square foot of the refinery weeks before its demolition.
Raphaelson spent weeks speaking with former Domino workers to hear first-hand the refinery’s more personal stories. He also assembled a world-class team of contributors: Pulitzer Prize–winning photography editor Stella Kramer, architectural historian Matthew Postal, and art director Christopher Truch. The result is a beautiful, complex, thrilling mashup of art, document, industrial history, and Brooklyn visual culture. Strap on your hard hat and headlamp, and wander inside for a closer look.
This book is a time-capsule, capturing the dying moments of a one-thriving building. It’s bittersweet, which is ironic considering what the refinery made, but it’s an impressive preservation of one more piece of history, now lost to the ages.
You ought to be able to order Brooklyn’s Sweet Ruin: Relics and Stories of the Domino Sugar Refinery from any bookseller by using the ISBN number, or you can order it directly from the publisher.