PetaPixel

Portrait Diptychs Showing the Differences and Similarities Between Subcultures

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A black Baptist minister and a group of Ku Klux Klan white supremacists. You wouldn’t expect to see them together, but that’s precisely why they’re found side-by-side in photographer Mark Laita‘s project Created Equal. Laita spent eight years shooting black-and-white portraits of Americans that are on opposite ends of various cultural spectrums. The images are then placed into diptychs that are both jarring in their juxtapositions and powerful reminders of our shared humanity.

The title of the project is from the opening of the United States Declaration of Independence. Back in 1776, Thomas Jefferson famously wrote,

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

In the opening statement of his project, Laita says that divides among Americans are growing. There is income disparity between the rich and the poor and major ideology differences between conservatives and liberals. “Even good and evil seem more polarized than ever before,” Laita writes.

The photographer says that at the heart of this collection of portraits is his desire to remind viewers that “we were all equal, until our environment, circumstances or fate molded and weathered us into whom we have become.”

Mariachis and Elvis impersonators

Mariachis and Elvis impersonators

Motorcycle gang and altar boys

Motorcycle gang and altar boys

Amish teenagers and punk teenagers

Amish teenagers and punk teenagers

Fur trapper and a woman with a dog

Fur trapper and a woman with a dog

Polygamists and a pimp

Polygamists and a pimp

County fair livestock show contestant and a Cajun man

County fair livestock show contestant and a Cajun man

Bull rider and a rock musician

Bull rider and a rock musician

Company president and janitor

Company president and janitor

Baptist churchgoer and white supremacist

Baptist churchgoer and white supremacist

Astronaut and alleged alien abductee

Astronaut and alleged alien abductee

Bank robber and deputies

Bank robber and deputies

French chef and short order cook

French chef and short order cook

Marine and war veteran

Marine and war veteran

Gang member and mafia member

Gang member and mafia member

Southerner and Hassidic jew

Southerner and Hassidic jew

Ballerina and boxer

Ballerina and boxer

Homeless man and real estate developer

Homeless man and real estate developer

You can find more photos over on the project’s official website (warning: some images are NSFW), and a lengthy interview with Laita about this project over on Turnstyle. The photographs have also been published as a book.

Created Equal by Mark Laita (via Ufunk via Xatakafoto)


Image credits: Photographs by Mark Laita and used with permission


 
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  • http://www.facebook.com/zosxavius Zos Xavius

    Some amazing portraits here. This is a great project.

  • Jake

    I think both Bon Jovi and Kid Rock would argue that Bull Rider and Rock Musician aren’t the same thing.

  • Joe Gunawan

    Agreed! – Joe

  • DamianM

    This is an older project of his. Saw a couple of years ago at a gallery over here in LA.
    Great humor really

  • jake

    riding on clichees?

  • http://www.bobcooleyphoto.com/ bob cooley

    Agreed. Beautifully executed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/thomashawk Thomas Hawk

    Such striking work, well done!

  • tyrohne

    dude I THOUGHT THE SAME THING!!

  • http://www.foggodyssey.com/ foggodyssey

    There is a full video on how he got a lot of the photos and why he did this project. REALLY worth watching to understand what he did to capture this body work.

    http://www.annenbergspaceforphotography.org/events/iris-nights/beauty-culture/101

  • http://www.johndunnephotography.com/ John Dunne

    That first image has such impact! A great project