Ramos describes the series as a “photo-novella” of his life as the son of working-class immigrants who came to America from Mexico in search of a better life. The work, he writes in the press release, “offers the viewer a glimpse of the personal story of each member of my family and reveals the nature of their relationship to one another.” Ramos also includes his own experience of living between two worlds as a child and rejecting his family’s blue-collar tradition in order to become a photographer.
Although “The Land of Illustrious Men” is a personal account of Ramos’s journey, the series directly speaks to a larger story about immigration, cultural identity, assimilation, and class that is shared by millions of immigrants in the U.S. and beyond.
The photographs, shot in color and black and white, are are primarily portraits. The series arguably falls into the category of vernacular photography, a testament to the sheer number of immigrants whose experiences – from banal to startling – should never be overlooked yet have become everyday stories.
Intimate Moments through the Wall Dividing Mexico and the U.S.
Paul D’Amato’s Portraits from Chicago’s West Side
A Mixed-Media Video Explores the Immigrant Experience (for PDN subscribers; login required)