I have been very fortunate to shoot for Tongaat Hulett in Zimbabwe's low veld sugar hub for the past several years and have enjoyed working with the sugar giant immensely. The scale of the agriculture and the overwhelming size of the production process offers almost unending photographic opportunities.
I was contracted by Tongaat to photograph their Zimbabwean operations for the 2017 annual report. The brief was to get as many dynamic shots of their operations, production and people as possible, with a key focus being on capturing unique and captivating images of their staff at work in all environments.
This really pleased the portrait photographer in me and I think i can say that i managed to get some honest and engaging shots of the Tongaat staff...
Tongaat have a massive agricultural footprint in Zimbabwe's low-veld, focused around the Triangle and Hippo Valley Estates with total land under sugar cane of roughly 40 000 hectares. When the operations are in full swing there are so many photographic opportunities avaiable that I was spoiled for choice. Cleary a major part of the brief was to capture the agricultural and harvesting side of the operations, which you can see below.
Each estate has its own sugar mill and combined can crush over 4.5 million tonnes of sugar cane annually, which produces roughly 600 000 tonnes of sugar! Massive is the only word that really describes this undertaking! I was lucky enough to spend a few days in the mills documenting the process form start to finish and learning all about the fascinating process that eventually results in processed sugar.
The best way to appreciate the size of the agricultural footprint as well as the mills in my opinion is with aerial pictures. This is were my drone always shines, allowing me to capture unique angles and wide, stretching vistas.
All in all I always enjoy my assignments down to Tongaat Hulett and am already looking forward to my next assignment! If you have an agricultural project that you would like photographed, please don't hesiatte to contact me.