Photographer Mark Laita's "Created Equal" is a series of portraits of Americans juxtaposed in rather provocative diptychs. Pairings include the likes of marine/war veteran, Baptist churchgoer/white supremacist, pedophile/child, and, seen above, polygamist/pimp. Turnstyle interviewed Laita and presents a selection of the Created Equal photos:
How did this project come about and why did you want to work on it?
Mark Laita: Created Equal is different from my other work in that it's not politically correct. Perhaps it's a reaction to all the years of working for advertising clients, producing work that was pleasing to look at. Almost all commercial work has a committee or focus group making certain that the end result is "nice." I felt the need to produce something that was raw and real, as life truly is, not just what we aspire to.
The more shocking to our sense of what's "right," the better. That's why I sought out the worst pedophile I could find (with a list of the most horrible convictions you can imagine) and a beautiful and innocent little girl (photographed with her mother's consent of the pairing of images). If the viewer cringes from the pairing that's great. I think a lot of us don't think what you see in Created Equal exists in our city, but take a look at your neighborhood's Megan's list website sometime and tell me how "nice" your town is. Every city in the U.S. has sex offenders, prostitutes, drug addicts along with wonderful humanitarians, philanthropists and leaders. I aimed to depict our country as it is, not as we would like to think it is.