Sep 16th 2022

Daniel Ramos: Eight Hours Don’t Make A Day

September 26 – October 28, 2022
McHenry County College
Galleries One & Two + Epping Gallery

Artist Talk & Reception: Wednesday, October 19
2:30 p.m. — Artist Talk in the Luecht Auditorium, B170
3:30 p.m. — Reception in Gallery One, A212x

Free and open to the public

Daniel Ramos was born and raised in Pilsen, a Mexican-American neighborhood on the lower West Side of Chicago. Ramos began his career making images of his family members, neighbors, and coworkers, who were first-generation immigrants and members of the working class. He used photography to magnify their presence in the world and remind us that if we preserve our own legacy, we have control of our history. Eight Hours Don’t Make A Day is a selection of works from three of his photographic series: Sloan Valve, The Land of Illustrious Men, and Eres Buy Hermosa (You are Very Beautiful).

The Land of Illustrious Men (on view in Gallery One) is a photo-novella of Ramos’s life as the son of working-class immigrants who came to America from Mexico in search of work and the hope of economic security. Ramos’s father entered the United States illegally with the help of a coyote (a human trafficker) and Ramos’s mother was encouraged to immigrate to the U.S. by her own mother. This series offers viewers a glimpse of the personal story of each family member as well as a glimpse into Ramos’s childhood spent living between two worlds: his neighborhood in Chicago and the small town of Lampazos De Naranjo, Nuevo León, Mexico, where he was sent to stay with his grandmother in an effort to protect him from the gang violence in Pilsen. The Land of Illustrious Men was self-published in 2019 as an artist book; it was produced in collaboration with Ramos’s wife, Kristina.

In 1999, during Ramos’s first year at Columbia College Chicago, he began working as a hand-polisher at Sloan Valve, a company specializing in flushing valves and the same factory where his father worked for thirty-nine years. It was here that Ramos began his first extended photographic project: Sloan Valve (on view in Gallery Two). This series consists of portraits of Ramos’s factory coworkers. He took the images using a large-format camera and studio strobe lighting. The series follows a long tradition of documentary photographers celebrating the individual worker alongside the machines of their trade. Ramos resigned from Sloan in 2001 after receiving a scholarship from Columbia College. His decision to reject the blue-collar tradition and become a photographer was a blow to his father, who had always wanted Ramos to follow in his footsteps.

Daniel Ramos is a current NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow for Photography and was awarded the 2022 Sprouting Spaces residency by Clementina Arts Foundation in Connecticut. He was the 2021-2022 fellow at NXTHVN in New Haven, Connecticut; Artist-In-Residence at Light Work, Syracuse, NY, in June 2021; and held the 2020-2021 Pollock-Krasner Residency at ISCP in Brooklyn, NY. In March 2020, Daniel completed the Spring International Artist-In-Residence program at Artpace in San Antonio, Texas. He taught photography at Texas State University during the fall 2020 semester and was awarded the Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize in 2018. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Photography from Columbia College Chicago. Daniel and his wife, Kristina, and their son, Max, live in New York City.

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