The Digital Journalist
Daniel Ramos Working at Sloan

My parents came from Mexico, and after high school I went to Mexico for a year. When I came back, I worked at a liquor store, but my mother would bother me to return to school. One day my mother gave me ten dollars and said, "Today you are going to get on the train and go downtown, and you are going to come back a student." I knew I would get rejected, but on the train I remembered that Columbia College did not have an entrance exam but a "placement test." I headed there, took the test, and when the interviewer asked, "What do you want to major in?" I asked, "What you got?" When he came to photography, I said, "Stop! I'll take photography."

I did my project at the Sloan Valve factory because I wanted to show my teachers and the other students where I worked. I used a 4 x 5 camera and studio lights, and it was a big production to do this on the factory floor in the middle of the day while everyone was working. My father thought I was crazy when I decided to pursue my photography full-time. My friends at Sloan couldn't understand it either. No one at work believed in dreams anymore. I am a lucky person. I will never forget the day when I discovered that I could express everything that I felt and thought through pictures.