“In America, the chasm between rich and poor is growing, the clash between conservatives and liberals is strengthening, and even good and evil seem more polarized than ever before. At the heart of this collection of portraits is my desire to remind us that we were all equal, until our environment, circumstances, or fate molded and weathered us into whom we have become.”
Mark Laita’s Created Equal documents the people who make up America’s diverse culture, shedding light on notions of identity, class, and lifestyle. Presented as diptychs, the images exert striking comparisons as they explore class, race, gender, sexuality, and more within the United States. Completed over the course of eight years, Laita intentionally photographed his subjects against a muted backdrop and each portrait’s lighting, cropping, and camera angle is intentionally consistent, creating work that reveals unlikely connections and contradictions through coupling.
By extracting them from their typical surroundings, Laita asserts the idea that we are all equal an interchangeable. In the spirit of Edward Curtis, August Sander, and Richard Avedon, Laita’s survey of “human types” is an extension and a new interpretation of their past photographic methodology. Texts include an introduction by Ingrid Sischy, which offers a biographical as well as critical examination of Laita and his work, and backmatter text by the artist which elaborates his experiences with his subjects.
About Mark Laita
Mark Laita grew up in the Midwest cities of Detroit and Chicago, where he discovered photography at the age of fifteen.As a teenager he worked on a series of portraits of Chicago’s homeless, which thirty years later matured and expanded into Created Equal. He earned a degree in photography from Columbia College and the University of Illinois/Chicago. He divides his time between Los Angeles and New York City. [Official Website]