Mike Ruiz is a world-renowned photographer, who also happens to be a TV personality, former model, actor, spokesperson, creative director an director. With his wide array of esperiences an interests.
How did you get interested in photography?
Even though I didn’t realize it at the time, I was picking things up early on, during my modeling days. I was photographed by some of the biggest in the business and I learned about photography through osmosis. After a decade of modeling, I got a camera for Christmas and I’ve been hooked ever since.
What do you do in your life besides photography?
I direct music videos and independent films. On my down time, I am involved in various charitable organizations. Being very business minded, I constantly seek to grow my brand. I have designed an ongoing menswear collection, have a t-shirt line of my images that I sell online and developed an app, which is an interactive photographic gallery.
Could you tell our readers how to reach such excellent results in photography?
There is no one formula, as it is a very individualistic experience for each photographer. My aesthetic is very intuitive. I’m driven and inspired by the world around me. Being self-taught, I can say that focus, discipline and determination are key components in my achieving results that I find best represent my body of work. If I can look at any one of my images repeatedly and never tire of them, then I know that I’ve done a pretty good job.
If you could go back ten years, what advice would you give yourself?
Easy: Take a deep breath and pace yourself, it’s going to be an awesome adventure!
Did your early photographic goals include earning a living from photography, or did it start as a way to express yourself creatively?
When I got my first camera, I became obsessed with everything that encompassed photography. I would shoot anything and everything. Photography became a spigot for self-expression–it was an extension of myself. I was lucky that I happened to book jobs very early on in my career, to the point that, from the beginning, I was earning a living and supporting myself with my art.
When did you know you finally “made it” as a professional?
Having “made it” is a state of mind. I feel very accomplished but I am always seeking to better myself both as a professional and as a human being. I find myself continually learning in life. So,I guess some might considering that I’ve made it–but the adventure isn’t over!
Do you tend to bring the same equipment on each shoot or do you change up your gear depending on the subject and theme?
Each shoot is a unique experience. So, even though I usually shoot with the same camera, there are a whole host of different criteria that will determine what equipment I will use for any particular session. The short answer is no, I tend to change it up from one shoot to another.
Are you currently working on any personal projects? Pretty Masculine?
Yes, I am! Last year, I started to shoot for my new app called “Pretty Masculine”. It’s an app for the iPad, iPhone and Android devices.
How did the idea for the book Pretty Masculine?
Having worked within the constraints of commercial and editorial photography for quite a while now, I wanted to venture further into what fuels my imagination. So, two and a half years ago, I started shooting for my coffee table book, which I self-published in the fall of 2011. This project took on a life of its own and this year, this labor of love morphed into the Pretty Masculine app. In it, I found the opportunity to study and make a statement about my understanding of society’s perception of what is masculinity.And with it, I sought to break down barriers with my art.
Could you please tell us something about your technique and creating process?
Sorry, that’s grandma’s secret recipe (smiles).
Any words of wisdom for the up and comers?
Love and believe in what you do. Be confident in your talent and be disciplined. Nobody’s going to give you a handout in this business so you have to be motivated and be ready to work hard.
Thank you for taking the time to talk with us today.