The iconic Domino Sugar refinery graced the Williamsburg waterfront for decades, and when much of it was demolished in 2014, many felt that a quintessential part of the neighborhood had vanished. Paul Raphaelson, a photographer who specializes in urban and industrial landscapes, felt a similar sense of loss, and decided to capture the abandoned factory’s eerie beauty before it disappeared. However, what started out as a simple desire to photograph the building’s cavernous spaces became an in-depth exploration into the human and historical context that surrounded them. The endeavor would eventually result in a crowdfunded book as well as a set of photos currently on display at The Front Room gallery, not far from the site of the refinery.
domino sugar refinery
If you’ve stopped by the Domino sugar refinery in the past couple weeks, Kara Walker’s magnificent installation may have given you food for thought regarding the building’s sordid past. And if that hasn’t totally killed your sweet tooth, Union Docs is here to help—with “a program of mostly unseen work that examines the effect the refinery had on the surrounding neighborhood as well as addressing broader themes of sweetness and power.” There will be a post-screening discussion with the filmmakers, moderated by Filip Noterdaeme, contributor to the Huffington Post and founder of The Homeless Museum of Art.