Eye Candy Golden Iris Award: Photographer of the Year

By: Michael Matson

Winner: Mike Ruiz

With appearances on shows including My Life on the D-List and RuPaul's Drag Race, Mike Ruiz became a reality TV star in 2009. Some might dismiss the 45-year-old's television bookings as being about his handsome face and killer bod (which don't hurt), but the reason Ruiz gets hired is this: he makes people look good. Damn good! Queen Latifah, Zac Efron, Jennifer Lopez, Christian Bale, Salma Hayek, and even the friggin' Jonas Brothers have all entrusted their images to him.

There was one shoot in particular this year, however, that cinched the award for Ruiz. It's the spectacular session with his childhood idol, Brooke Shields, which resulted in this decade's best photographs of the fashion icon. In making Shields look like no one else has before (not even Avedon), Ruiz proved that, not only does he have the gift of the golden iris, but he is also on his way to becoming a photography legend.

See more of Ruiz's images, and who earned honorable mentions, after the jump.

Brooke Shields by Mike Ruiz

Photo: Mike Ruiz
Photo: Mike Ruiz


Honorable Mention: Rick Day His classic yet contemporary style, ability to shoot physique and fashion with equal excellence, and the enviable skill of getting models to drop trou all make Rick Day's photos go gay blog viral more than any others. We've all downloaded plenty of his hot shots for free this year. Now it's time to go out and buy Day's sexy new book, Players. A photographer's gotta eat, doesn't he?

Honorable Mention: Tony Duran He's kinda like the love child of photographers Herb Ritts and Helmut Newton, but more decadent than the former and less pervy than the latter. In 2009, Duran shot the Dieux du Stade rugby calendar,  a Thom Browne campaign, and his own groundbreaking session with Brooke Shields. But, after twelve rounds in the ring, the score cards favored Ruiz's.

Honorable Mention: Mikel Marton Montreal-based Marton produced some of the year's most original homoerotic images. And the self-portraits of the boyishly handsome photographer have become gay blog staples. Marton counts Dennis Cooper as a fanboy, NYC's hippest gallery as his rep, and London as the latest city he's exhibited in. He is definitely one to watch.

Honorable Mention: Milan Vukmirovic This Renaissance man is the Creative Director for Trussardi 1911 and Editor-in-Chief for L'Officiel Hommes, but it is Vukmirovic's photography that shined the brightest in 2009. Place one of his male fashion editorial photos in any gallery or museum and there would be no question that it belongs. Plus, Vukmirovic makes Sean O'Pry look better than any other photographer.