Laurent Bellec in action
Laurent Bellec
Laurent Bellec in action

The photographic artist Laurent Bellec is finalizing the creation of an Encyclopaedia dedicated to animal nutrition factories around the world. 300 selected pictures, taken over the last ten years in 18 countries, which document in unique fashion the story of his work, as well as the industry as a whole. It is scheduled for release in April 2021.  

"It is the culmination of ten years of photographic work." Laurent Bellec, a photographic artist from Brittany who specializes in capturing the architecture of animal feed factories, is currently carrying out a major project: to provide the industry with a photographic Encyclopaedia. Named Feed Mills Encyclopedia 2011-2021, it brings together nearly 300 colour photos taken in 18 countries around the world: France, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands, England, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Poland, Switzerland, USA, Australia, Turkey, Japan, Russia and Brazil.
"Some of the images have appeared in my previous books, but there are also many new ones. They all come from my photographic collection of more than 2,500 images. "They were taken with a large-format camera equipped with a 60 million pixel digital box." This allows access to the technical detail of the factories, the shooting being very descriptive and precise. The photographer points out that each photograph corresponds to one working day, or even more if the weather is not favourable. “I have to choose the right place to put my tripod down, wait for the right light, take into account the truck traffic in the factory, etc." He says, “Not to mention the time it takes to get to the site, which can seem disproportionate compared to a click, with equipment that weighs almost 25 kilos. »

Through this work, Laurent Bellec aims to "make the architecture of the factories and their place in the landscape accessible to all. I have created a visual grammar (from photographic documents) to help us understand the story of this globalized industry. Since each image is dated, located and identified (name of the company at the time of the shoot), it also gives indications on the evolution of the sector. "They show a contemporary heritage, are a reflection of an industrial period and constitute tomorrow’s historical database. It is a unique collection in the world, a marker in the history of work and industry. As such, the Encyclopaedia meets the standards of museum collections. It has its place among documentary collections of the contemporary heritage of functional buildings and architecture".

The book, which is scheduled for release in April 2021, will be accompanied by a 54-page booklet dedicated to the partners (sponsors, factories, federation, associations...). A total of 3000 copies will be published. For the moment, 167 subscriptions have already been acquired, "but 400 are needed to bring the project to fruition," the photographer explains. The project is supported by Fefac, IFIF, by all the members of Nutrinoe, Tecaliman, La Meccanica-Italy, and by all the factories photographed. "Without them, I would never have been able to undertake the realisation of this Encyclopaedia" Laurent Bellec emphasizes.
It is still possible to join the project, in various ways. Subscription is possible until the 30th of December, "at a reduced price, for a minimum of five subscriptions". Other partners and sponsors can also appear in the book (contact Bellec before 30th December if possible). "We address this call for support for the Encyclopaedia to the whole sector to enable recognition of the animal nutrition industry beyond the activities of the present, and to play a role in an historical perspective for future generations."