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    A young girl eats a candy stick in Ribeirao Preto, Brazil on Oct. 1, 2011. The Babilonia Circus is a convenient place to find sugar products like cotton candy and churros. Brazil is host to the largest sugar and ethanol producers in the world.
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    Sugar is stored in the warehouse before being trucked from the sugar and ethanol plant, USINA Da Pedra, in Ribeirao Preto, Brazil, on Sept. 28, 2011. Brazil is host to the largest sugar and ethanol producers in the world. Hi-tech production areas cluster in the Sao Paolo region where the sugar is sold to the international market or processed into ethanol.
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    A workder in the Suiker Unie sugar packaging plant views a computer as part of the packaging process in Puttershoek, Holland on Oct. 19, 2011. This plant packages sugar in various forms for the retail market.
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    Smoke rises from a controlled burn in a distant sugarcane field in Ribeirao Preto region of Sao Paulo state, Brazil on Oct. 5, 2011. Instances of these controlled burns are increasingly rare in the "emerald desert", the largest sugar cane production zone in the world, as Brazilians strive to use environmentally friendly practices.
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    A factory worker attends to sugar cubes moving along a conveyor belt In the Suiker Unie sugar packaging plant in Puttershoek, Holland on Oct. 19, 2011.
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    A mixture of fertilizer and recycled water is sprayed on a recently cut sugar cane field near the village of Santa Cruz Das Posses, Brazil on Oct. 2, 2011. Brazil is host to the largest sugar and ethanol producers in the world. Hi-tech production areas cluster in the Sao Paolo region where the sugar is sold to the international market or processed into ethanol.
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    Batter for cookies is mixed in the factory of the Patisserie Jack Heesen in Brunssem, Holland on Oct. 20, 2011.
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    Sugarcane is harvested using state of the art combines and tractors in the fields outside the town of Sao Manoel, Brazil on Sept. 25, 2011. Brazil is host to the largest sugar and ethanol producers in the world. Hi-tech production areas cluster in the Sao Paolo region where the sugar is sold to the international market or processed into ethanol.
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    Butter and sugar are proportioned out to make cookie batter in the factory of the Patisserie Jack Heesen in Brunssem, Holland on Oct. 20, 2011.
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    Sugarcane is harvested using state of the art combines and tractors in the fields outside the town of Sao Manoel, Brazil on Sept. 25, 2011. Brazil is host to the largest sugar and ethanol producers in the world. Hi-tech production areas cluster in the Sao Paolo region where the sugar is sold to the international market or processed into ethanol.
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    A conveyor belt of cookies is inspected in the factory of the Patisserie Jack Heesen in Brunssem, Holland on Oct. 20, 2011.
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    Sugarcane is gathered in containers at the sugar and ethanol plant, USINA, in Sao Manoel, Brazil on Sept. 24, 2011. Brazil is host to the largest sugar and ethanol producers in the world. Hi-tech production areas cluster in the Sao Paolo region where the sugar is sold to the international market or processed into ethanol.
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    Chocolates move along the conveyor belt in the Leaf factory for gum and hard candy in Sneek, Holland on Oct. 24, 2011.
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    Workers unload sugarcane into the grinder at the organic sugar and ethanol plant, USINA Sao Francisco, in Ribeirao Preto, Brazil, on Sept. 27, 2011. USINA Sao Francisco is the only organic sugar and ethanol plant in Brazil. Brazil is host to the largest sugar and ethanol producers in the world. Hi-tech production areas cluster in the Sao Paolo region where the sugar is sold to the international market or processed into ethanol.
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    A worker prepares gummy bears for packaging in the Matthias Candy Factory in Hoogerheide, Holland on Oct. 22, 2011.
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    The machines continue working 24/7 at the sugar and ethanol plant, USINA, in Sao Manoel, Brazil on Sept. 24, 2011. Brazil is host to the largest sugar and ethanol producers in the world. Hi-tech production areas cluster in the Sao Paolo region where the sugar is sold to the international market or processed into ethanol.
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    Piles of hard candy are ready for packaging in the Leaf factory for gum and hard candy in Sneek, Holland on Oct. 24, 2011.
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    An employee hoses down the area around the yeast factory at the sugar and ethanol plant, USINA, in Sao Manoel, Brazil on Sept. 25, 2011. Brazil is host to the largest sugar and ethanol producers in the world. Hi-tech production areas cluster in the Sao Paolo region where the sugar is sold to the international market or processed into ethanol.
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    Piles of hard candy are ready for packaging in the Leaf factory for gum and hard candy in Sneek, Holland on Oct. 24, 2011.
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    Steam erupts from bagasse-fired boilers at the sugar and ethanol plant, USINA, in Sao Manoel, Brazil on Sept. 25, 2011. Bagasse, a by-product of the sugarcane industry, is a convenient and cost effective primary fuel source at sugar mills.
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    In the Refresco Bottling plant workers and machines package sweet drinks like the Dutch favorite with kids, Wicky fruit drink, in Bodegraven, Holland on Oct. 24, 2011.
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    Sugar is processed using state of the art equipment at the sugar and ethanol plant, USINA Da Pedra, in Ribeirao Preto, Brazil, on Sept. 28, 2011. Brazil is host to the largest sugar and ethanol producers in the world. Hi-tech production areas cluster in the Sao Paolo region where the sugar is sold to the international market or processed into ethanol.
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    In the Hochwald factory, condensed milk and other sweetened milk products are manufactured, in Bolsward, Holland on Oct. 25, 2011.
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    Technicians perform tests in the laboratory at the sugar and ethanol plant, USINA, in Sao Manoel, Brazil on Sept. 24, 2011. Brazil is host to the largest sugar and ethanol producers in the world. Hi-tech production areas cluster in the Sao Paolo region where the sugar is sold to the international market or processed into ethanol.
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    In the Hochwald factory, condensed milk and other sweetened milk products are manufactured, in Bolsward, Holland on Oct. 25, 2011.
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    Laborers bag sugar at the sugar and ethanol plant, USINA, in Sao Manoel, Brazil on Sept. 24, 2011. Brazil is host to the largest sugar and ethanol producers in the world. Hi-tech production areas cluster in the Sao Paolo region where the sugar is sold to the international market or processed into ethanol.
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    In the Hochwald factory, condensed milk and other sweetened milk products are manufactured, in Bolsward, Holland on Oct. 25, 2011.
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    Laborers stack bags of sugar at the sugar and ethanol plant, USINA Sao Francisco, in Ribeirao Preto, Brazil, on Sept. 27, 2011. USINA Sao Francisco is the only organic sugar and ethanol plant in Brazil. Brazil is host to the largest sugar and ethanol producers in the world. Hi-tech production areas cluster in the Sao Paolo region where the sugar is sold to the international market or processed into ethanol.
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    In the Fascini candy factory, long strands of colored sweet and sour candy is cooked and packaged in Heerenberg, Holland on Oct. 25, 2011.
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    Sugar is stored in the warehouse before being trucked from the sugar and ethanol plant, USINA Da Pedra, in Ribeirao Preto, Brazil, on Sept. 28, 2011. Brazil is host to the largest sugar and ethanol producers in the world. Hi-tech production areas cluster in the Sao Paolo region where the sugar is sold to the international market or processed into ethanol.
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    In the Fascini candy factory, long strands of colored sweet and sour candy is cooked and packaged in Heerenberg, Holland on Oct. 25, 2011.
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    Pedra Agroindustrial S/A's communications coordinator, Erika Moretini, and UNICA's publicist, Luana Maia Oliveira, guide visitors at USINA Da Pedra, a sugar and ethanol plant, in Ribeirao Preto, Brazil on Sept. 28, 2011. Brazil is host to the largest sugar and ethanol producers in the world. Hi-tech production areas cluster in the Sao Paolo region where the sugar is sold to the international market or processed into ethanol.
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    In the Fascini candy factory, long strands of colored sweet and sour candy is cooked and packaged in Heerenberg, Holland on Oct. 25, 2011.
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    A truck carrying sugar cane cuts through the village of Santa Cruz Das Posses, Brazil on Oct. 4, 2011. The fields that surround this small farming community are part of the "emerald desert" of sugar cane in Brazil. Brazil is host to the largest sugar and ethanol producers in the world.
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    The sugarcane grows well over the height of your average man in the fields near the sugar and ethanol plant, USINA Sao Francisco, in Ribeirao Preto, Brazil, on Sept. 27, 2011. USINA Sao Francisco is the only organic sugar and ethanol plant in Brazil. Brazil is host to the largest sugar and ethanol producers in the world. Hi-tech production areas cluster in the Sao Paolo region where the sugar is sold to the international market or processed into ethanol.
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    Dye from colored sweet and sour candy leaks on the floor In the Fascini candy factory in Heerenberg, Holland on Oct. 25, 2011.
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    An employee washes the ethanol storage tanks at the organic sugar and ethanol plant, USINA Sao Francisco, in Ribeirao Preto, Brazil, on Sept. 27, 2011. USINA Sao Francisco is the only organic sugar and ethanol plant in Brazil. Brazil is host to the largest sugar and ethanol producers in the world. Hi-tech production areas cluster in the Sao Paolo region where the sugar is sold to the international market or processed into ethanol.
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    In the Fascini candy factory, long strands of colored sweet and sour candy is cooked and packaged in Heerenberg, Holland on Oct. 25, 2011.
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    A new delivery of ethanol is tested at Petrobras gas station in Santos, Brazil on Oct. 11, 2011. Testing is mandatory at all gas stations in Brazil which is host to the largest sugar and ethanol producers in the world.
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    Car buyers and sellers mingle together in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Oct. 9, 2011. The Feirao De Carros do Anhembi is one of the largest used car fairs in the world and is held every Sunday. Most of the vehicles at this show are flex fuel cars that run on ethanol.
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    The nearby sugarcane fields are in various states of growth in the village of Santa Cruz Das Posses, Brazil on Oct. 3, 2011. The fields that surround this small farming community are part of the "emerald desert" of sugar cane in Brazil. Brazil is host to the largest sugar and ethanol producers in the world.
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    Sugar cane workers, with their family and friends, relax after a long day of work in the village of Santa Cruz Das Posses, Brazil on Oct. 4, 2011. The fields that surround this small farming community are part of the "emerald desert" of sugar cane in Brazil. Brazil is host to the largest sugar and ethanol producers in the world.
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    Sugar cane workers, with their family and friends, relax after a long day of work in the village of Santa Cruz Das Posses, Brazil on Oct. 3, 2011. The fields that surround this small farming community are part of the "emerald desert" of sugar cane in Brazil. Brazil is host to the largest sugar and ethanol producers in the world.
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    A sugar cane worker prepares for a long day of work in the village of Santa Cruz Das Posses, Brazil on Oct. 4, 2011. The fields that surround this small farming community are part of the "emerald desert" of sugar cane in Brazil. Brazil is host to the largest sugar and ethanol producers in the world.
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    Sugar cane workers prepare for a long day of work in the village of Santa Cruz Das Posses, Brazil on Oct. 4, 2011. The fields that surround this small farming community are part of the "emerald desert" of sugar cane in Brazil. Brazil is host to the largest sugar and ethanol producers in the world.
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    Sugar cane workers prepare for a long day of work in the village of Santa Cruz Das Posses, Brazil on Oct. 4, 2011. The fields that surround this small farming community are part of the "emerald desert" of sugar cane in Brazil. Brazil is host to the largest sugar and ethanol producers in the world.
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    Sugar is transported from trucks to trains at the Copersucar Transport Terminal, in Ribeirao Preto, Brazil on Sept. 29, 2011. Brazil is host to the largest sugar and ethanol producers in the world. Hi-tech production areas cluster in the Sao Paolo region where the sugar is sold to the international market or processed into ethanol.
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    Sugar is processed using state of the art equipment at the sugar and ethanol plant, USINA Da Pedra, in Ribeirao Preto, Brazil, on Sept. 28, 2011. Brazil is host to the largest sugar and ethanol producers in the world. Hi-tech production areas cluster in the Sao Paolo region where the sugar is sold to the international market or processed into ethanol.
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    Sugar is transported from trucks to trains at the Copersucar Transport Terminal, in Ribeirao Preto, Brazil on Sept. 29, 2011. Brazil is host to the largest sugar and ethanol producers in the world. Hi-tech production areas cluster in the Sao Paolo region where the sugar is sold to the international market or processed into ethanol.
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    Sugar is unloaded and stored in the warehouses of Copersucar in the port of Santos, Brazil on Oct. 7, 2011. Brazil is host to the largest sugar and ethanol producers in the world. Hi-tech production areas cluster in the Sao Paolo region where the sugar is sold to the international market or processed into ethanol.
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    Sugar is unloaded and stored in the warehouses of Copersucar in the port of Santos, Brazil on Oct. 7, 2011. Brazil is host to the largest sugar and ethanol producers in the world. Hi-tech production areas cluster in the Sao Paolo region where the sugar is sold to the international market or processed into ethanol.
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    The Pegasus, a Chilean flagged bulk cargo ship, loads 19,000 tons of unrefined sugar at the port's Copersucar terminal in Santos, Brazil on Oct 8, 2011. Brazil is host to the largest sugar and ethanol producers in the world. Hi-tech production areas cluster in the Sao Paolo region where the sugar is sold to the international market or processed into ethanol.
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    A vendor sells "street meat" near Copersucar warehouses at the port in Santos, Brazil on Oct. 6, 2011. Brazil is host to the largest sugar and ethanol producers in the world. Hi-tech production areas cluster in the Sao Paolo region where the sugar is sold to the international market or processed into ethanol.
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    Pedestrians are captured in the old port of Santos, Brazil on Oct. 8, 2011. Large amounts of sugar and ethanol are shipped to the international market from here after being stored in the warehouses of Copersucar.
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    Stevedore Manoel Silva, 51, relaxes and cooks at his home in the Monte Serrat district of Santos, Brazil on Oct. 11, 2011. Friends, daughter, Talita, 11, son, Adriel, 20, and nephew, Nielson, 22, join Stevedore who has worked in the port for 22 years. Large amounts of sugar and ethanol are shipped to the international market from here after being stored in the warehouses of Copersucar.
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    Beach goers use the outdoor shower in the old port of Santos, Brazil on Oct. 10, 2011. Large amounts of sugar and ethanol are shipped to the international market from here after being stored in the warehouses of Copersucar.
Sugar

Sugar in Brazil

Commissioned by Noorderlicht in 2011 to contribute to “The Sweet and Sour Story of Sugar,” I went to Sao Paulo to look at Brazil’s sugar cane industry. When I began the project, I knew that Brazil was the number one producer of sugar in the world and one of the leading producers of ethanol. I ventured into the heart of the emerald desert with curiosity and an open mind. What I discovered revealed a world I did not know existed. The level of sophistication, the quality of the work, the attention to energy-saving techniques and the stewardship of the land constitute a revolution in agriculture, technology and energy production. Like many, I hadn’t a clue as to how modern, efficient and green their sugar industry had become. Photographically, I was challenged to create imagery that would be artistic but also descriptive of the scale, modernity and strength of this vital indigenous industry. Visceral sensations – like the smells of sugar cane being processed into sugar, yeast and ethanol, the sweat and muck of the debris flying in the atmosphere, the dust, the musty-sticky-sweet odors – also needed to be captured pictorially. Brazil, as exemplified through its sugar cane industry, is fast developing into a world power, and this was an opportunity to share the revelatory side of a country that much of the developed world takes for granted. The complexity of operations, the integration of old and new cultures in both work and living and, most impressively, the near-zero use of energy within the whole production cycle, made me a believer in the future of Brazil’s emerald green bounty and the nation’s place as a trail blazer on the world stage.

Sugar in Holland

Commissioned by Noorderlicht in 2011 to contribute to “The Sweet and Sour Story of Sugar,” I spent a week touring Dutch sugar, candy and baking factories. Before this assignment, I had never thought of Holland as a sweet place. Witnessing the colorful and intriguing way in which candy is made, it will be hard for me to ever eat sweets in the same way again. The chemical smells, mixed with the artificial colors, syrupy dust and metallic surfaces encasing all these processes, left me slightly sickened. This is the epitome of today’s food manufacturing; boasting the height of modern efficiency while unfortunately producing things that are poisonous and unhealthy. I often lament how McDonald’s, with its praiseworthy proficiency and consistency on a worldwide scale, is regrettably another peddler of foods that are cause for ill health. This is not an indictment of the companies, workers or ethics of the gracious and cooperative folks I encountered in Holland. This is purely my personal opinion, particularly as an American who increasingly bares witness to the negative effects of unhealthy, cheap and convenient food options so prodigiously marketed by my own country. Casting no judgment, my photos are true in their documentary approach: cool and objective. These images provide a small window into how the modern world produces sweets for people to consume and, more specifically, how it’s done in Holland.

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