Every dollar made from sales of the calendar goes directly to New York Bully Crew. The organization, founded by Craig Fields in 2010, specializes in the rescue, rehabbing and rehoming of pit bulls and other breeds that face similar negative stereotyping. They partner with city shelters around the country to help local animals and have begun outreach efforts in Puerto Rico, Honduras, Peru, and South Korea.
Photo by Mike Ruiz
This year, the calendar is a special tribute to Mike's beloved pit bull, Oliver, who sadly passed away last month. Adopting Oliver was life-changing for Mike, who is an avid advocate for animal rescue. Mike shared with Popdust, "I adopted a pit bull named Oliver 7 years ago and without ever speaking a word, he taught me more about compassion and love than anyone else I've ever known."
Mike discovered his love of photography at the age of 28, upon receiving a camera as a Christmas gift. His work has appeared in numerous magazines including Vanity Fair, Prestige Hong Kong, L'Officiel Singapore, L'Officiel Australia, Flaunt, Condé Nast Traveler, Italian Elle, and Spanish and Brazilian Vogue. He's also shot numerous celebrities–big names like Kim Kardashian, Karolina Kurkova, Jourdan Dunn, Betty White, Beyonce and Prince.
In addition to celebrities, Mike is known for shooting top male fitness models. "I admire men who have sculpted their bodies into works of art," he says. "It takes incredible skill and knowledge to form human tissue to near perfection. Photographing their work is quite gratifying to me." And with Oliver by his side, Ruiz realized he could combine his passions - photography and pit bulls - and was inspired to create this calendar to raise awareness for a cause so close to his heart. "I put my heart and soul into this calendar project every year because I know too much about the plight of discarded, neglected dogs."
Photo by Mike Ruiz
Mike works with various animal rights organizations such as PETA and a multitude of animal rescues throughout the United States. He also proudly supports other charitable organizations such as GMHC, The Trevor Project, Housing Works, It Gets Better Campaign, Live Out Loud, Project Angel Food, and GLAAD.
Carla Mohan of The New York Bully Crew says, "Pit bulls are the most loyal and loving dogs. They are soulful creatures that can be the silliest best friend ever. I have had many different breeds of dogs in my life, but none compare to pit bulls." She hopes the calendar can provide a fresh perspective on this fun loving breed and help end the stigma against them.
"The calendar makes the perfect holiday gift and also brings awareness to these special animals," says Mike Ruiz. "Every pit bull deserves a forever home."
Mike Ruiz's 2019 calendar, "Bullies and Biceps" is available for only $24.99 at www.nybullycrew.org.
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