Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Mike Ruiz: Master Of Hopefulness
Mike Ruiz grounds his glitz and glamour celebrity photography with a healthy optimism and a definitive love of pop culture
|This Article Features Photo Zoom|
Born in Montreal in 1964 and raised in Québec, Ruiz is half Spanish and openly gay, a tough mix in the fairly intolerant, lower-income community he grew up in. He's characteristically positive about the experience, though, thanking his upbringing for giving him a fantastical ability to escape into a world much like the one that he now creates with his camera. As a child, he'd often find himself in intensely realistic daydreams, elaborate worlds that he'd create for himself in which everything was full of beauty and color, and everyone there had perfect hair and was always "dressed to the nines." He says these daydreams were so realistic that he'd often be shocked to find that they weren't actually real, and even at a young age, he realized that if he didn't act on them, eventually his fantasies would shrivel up and die.
"It's just creative visualization," he says. "I used to imagine myself in these different scenarios, and now they have all manifested. When I got that first camera as a gift, I realized that was the conduit for me to create that world myself."
Ruiz is also a businessman and a noted philanthropist in the LGBT community. He was a founding partner in the Los Angeles landmark studio, Miauhaus, which was open for 14 years until closing just recently. Ruiz says that he and his partners decided it was a better business decision to close up shop when faced with the reality that in order to stay competitive in today's web-based market, they would need to upgrade to a much more expensive, soundproof space. "We didn't go under," he says. "We just decided to end it."
Ruiz isn't afraid to get wild with his high-impact beauty shots.
Because of his charity and his talent, a brief look at his Facebook page shows it full of positive comments from his fans and members of the LGBT community, many thanking him for everything he does as a photographer and many others thanking him simply for being who he is. He says that he's flattered by all the feedback, and to him the most important thing is to inspire people to bring a positive energy and hopefulness to the world. "I work with a lot of philanthropic organizations that help kids," he says. "Everything that I do creatively has a message, and that message transcends photography for me, and now extends into trying to inspire kids into following their dreams, helping them to realize that there's a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and light at the end of the tunnel."
Adds Ruiz, "The long and the short of it is to be consistent and to be proud of what you do. You can't let people derail you. You can't get discouraged. If you're proud of what you're doing and you love what you do, and you're consistent at it, and you're willing to put in the time, then nothing and nobody should be able to derail you for that. I certainly had many, many, many naysayers along the way, telling me that I couldn't do pretty much every single thing that I've done, so that's the most important thing: to believe in yourself."
Multitalented celebrity and fashion photographer Mike Ruiz is based in New York. See more of his work at www.mikeruiz.com.
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