Thursday, January 24, 2013

Gay Activist Mike Ruiz Speaks OUT

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with world-renowned Photographer Mike Ruiz about his book “Pretty Masculine” that's now available on a new app. When Mike released his first book of images entitled "Pretty Masculine" last year it was an exploration of breaking stereotypes specifically in males as an effort to deconstruct the preconceived ideas about masculinity. Though the coffee table book, which all the profits went to GMHC, played with masculine and feminine imagery, the new app is inclusive to our entire LGBT community. The app is an all-encompassing experience that allows users to witness the full scope of the creative process. It provides behind-the-scenes-footage and interviews of models, make-up artists, hair stylists and more. This whimsical app also allows users to upload and manipulate their own images and apply a variety of elements, such as lighting and costuming to their photographs creating "Pretty Masculine-izing" imagery. We talked to Mike about this and his spin on our LGBT issues.

When asked what his reaction was to Obama finally including our LGBT community in his inaugural speech, Ruiz stated, “I burst into tears. I anticipated him including the LGBT community in his inaugural speech because he has been very vocal about it. But you know actually hearing it in the content, in that form and seeing all the people respond in a positive way was really overwhelming. It just made the whole thing so mainstream. You know it made it like a civil rights movement that anyone who doesn’t participate in is going to be on the wrong side of history and that made me realize this is so awesome. This is a pivotal moment in history. I remember when Reagan wouldn’t even acknowledge AIDS and HIV you know by allocating any funds to research. And now the President is including our community in his inaugural speech. It’s really amazing and emotional but it’s really something we should be taking for granted. He shouldn’t even have to be discussing this stuff. It’s the same way with the civil rights movement. Everyone should have equal rights. It should be a given. It shouldn’t be something that you should be so grateful to be acknowledged for. Once we’re given any kind of rights we have to give that person a metal. We deserve it, we’re human beings. The short answer to your question is “I burst into tears.”

Whether it's Kim Kardashian, Betty White, Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry or Prince, Mike has seen and shot them all. His work has appeared in Conde Nast Traveller, Elle, Interview, Paper, Flaunt, Spanish & Brazilian Vogue, Citizen K, Vanity Fair, Verve and other publications. Mike's keen eye and astute entrepreneurial skills have landed him positions in a wide array of fields. He founded Aardvark Aartists, an agency representing photographers, art directors and set designers. In the past year, Mike worked to create a t-shirt line that helps raise funds and awareness for The Ali Forney Center and currently has a public service announcement airing on LOGO creating awareness for HIV/AIDS testing. Mike also has partnered up with fashion designer J. Cheikh to create a line of red carpet menswear.
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