Patoutville Sugar Mill

       The number of sugar mills in Louisiana is slowly dwindling from the 20 that existed four decades ago, to the 11 that are in existence now.  Sugar mill technology has increased the efficiency of the process thus decreasing the number of sugar mills necessary to maintain current levels of sugar production.  The sugar industry is a big part of my family’s history and I am interested in the process and culture and would like to document the industry while it still exists in Louisiana.  Enterprise Plantation is a sugar mill located in Patoutville, Louisiana and was founded in 1825.  It is the oldest continuously family run sugar mill in the United States.

       This project was done using a 35 millimeter black and white film camera.  It is a documentation of the various stages of the process of converting sugar cane to raw sugar beginning with the image of the cane as it is transported from the field and ending with the image of the million tons of raw sugar in the warehouse.  Four of the images are done with double exposures.  I obtained blueprints of the land on which the factory resides.  I took photographs of these blueprints in various ways, some flat and some images with the blueprints crumpled to show more texture.  Then combined these images with the more abstract compositions obtained from the fields and factory, like in the image of the sugar cane combined with the image of the blueprint of the overall factory grounds.  This work of the sugar cane industry represents the many years of tradition that runs in my family.