Stefan Ruiz's portfolio of portraits and social landscapes, photographed over the last five years, reveals a striking vision of the fragility of the "family of man." With photographs of his own family, Mexican soap opera stars, Cuban mental asylum patients, Texan cowgirls and Rwandan refugees, as well as portraits of celebrities such as Liza Minelli and James Brown, this photo essay establishes Ruiz as a key contemporary image maker.
Stefan Ruiz was born in San Francisco, and studied painting and sculpture at the University of California (Santa Cruz) and the Accademia di Belle Arti (Venice, Italy). He took up photography while in West Africa, documenting Islam's influence on traditional West African art, for which he won a scholarship from The Color Purple Foundation in 1990. He taught art at San Quentin State Prison from 1992, and begon to work professionally as a photographer in 1994. He has worked editorially for magazines including Colors (for whom he was Creative Director, 2003-4), The New York Times magazine, Details and Rolling Stone. His award winning advertising photography includes campaigns for Levis, Caterpillar, Camper and Diesel. His work has been exhibited at the Howard Greenberg Gallery (Tokyo, 2000), the Havana Biennale (Cuba, 2003), PhotoEspana (Madrid, 2003), and Les Rencontres d'Arles (France, 2005). He now lives in New York City.