Created Equal: Photographer’s Amazing Series Aims to Explore Inequality In America (PHOTOS)

What is it during our journey here on earth that makes people, who were all born with clean slates, follow such different paths?

Detroit-born photographer Mark Laita tries to answer this questions in a book containing a series of photos he calls Created EqualThe photos, which compare two people, are a study of how our background, including our upbringing and schooling influence who we become. The result is a violent social and cultural collision. As he tells Turnstyle News, “As I see people I’m amazed at how circumstances, fate or our environment directs us into whom we have become. I am fascinated at how, in America, one young girl grows up to be a catholic nun and another grows up to be a prostitute. What kinds of things happened to her as a child? Is she happy? Is she a contributing member of society? These are my concerns. What judgment am I making by showing these two images together? Does this not actually happen in our country? Created Equal simply shows real examples of these ironic twists of fate. I find people fascinating and these diptychs help to get your mind turning.”

The couple being compared in each photo have a similarity that draws them together while highlighting just how different they really are. As boredpanda.com notes, “the two people being compared in the book “have some kind of a connection that ends up being the biggest contrast between them: for example, out-laws are put next to policemen, school drop-outs next to college graduates, and Amish teens are paired with punk teenagers.”

Mark says Created Equal took him 8 years to complete and was published in 2010. (You can purchase it here.)

“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 diptychs is my desire to remind us that we are all equal, until our environment, circumstances, or fate molded  and weathered us into whom we have become.”

What strikes me the most about looking at these photos is the drastic differences in appearance initially. In some cases it’s as if the subjects are different species. But the more you study each photo the more the similarities outweigh the differences. In the face of the stripper you see little girl she used to be, especially when positioned next to a child ballet dancer. You see what the drunk could have become if he’d chosen differently. Not only that, but you see how closely we’re all linked even though our professions and life choices seem so opposite on the outside. You see how similar the life of a ballerina is to that of a boxer or how closely linked the emotions of a bull rider and a musician probably are; two young men trying to prove themselves to the world. Mostly though, it’s shocking to see so plainly how our environment, circumstances – and our choices – make us so different from each other when we all started out pretty much the same, at least physically.

All photos used with permission from Mark Laita c/o Fahey/Klein Gallery. You can find Mark’s work at marklaita.net

  • 1 of 26
    equal-13

    The similarities in this one are obvious. And hilarious.

    Source: Mark Laita c/o Fahey/Klein Gallery

  • Polygamist/Pimp 2 of 26
    pms

    Are these men really that different? Only their women know for sure.

    Source: Mark Laita c/o Fahey/Klein Gallery

  • Catholic Nuns/Prostitutes 3 of 26
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    I'll bet you anything if you took a good look at the bonds the women in each group have with each other you wouldn't find them all that different.

    Source: Mark Laita c/o Fahey/Klein Gallery

  • Lingerie Model/Woman in Girdle 4 of 26
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    Each woman in the photos above has problems. One just hides hers better.

    Source: Mark Laita c/o Fahey/Klein Gallery

  • Tornado Victims/Lottery Winners 5 of 26
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    Each couple could be the other but for a simple twist of fate.

    Source: Mark Laita c/o Fahey/Klein Gallery

  • Motorcycle Gang/Altar Boys 6 of 26
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    The guys on the left could very well have been the boys on the right. Wonder what happened in between then and now...

    Source: Mark Laita c/o Fahey/Klein Gallery

  • Inmates/Cheerleaders 7 of 26
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    Gang of guys, gang of girls. Who's to say who is nicer? I've known a lot of really mean girl cheerleaders in my time. And my brothers have done a lot of time and they're the nicest boys I know.

    Source: Mark Laita c/o Fahey/Klein Gallery

  • Marine/War Veteran 8 of 26
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    The man on the right was likely the man on the left once. The man on the left could very well become the man on the right.

    Source: Mark Laita c/o Fahey/Klein Gallery

  • Indigent Couple/Wealthy Couple 9 of 26
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    Wonder which couple shares more love... We'll never know.

    Source: Mark Laita c/o Fahey/Klein Gallery

  • Young Man With Boom Box/Beach Goer 10 of 26
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    Two total opposites enjoying the same things.

    Source: Mark Laita c/o Fahey/Klein Gallery

  • Bull Rider/Band Member 11 of 26
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    These two, with such different careers, seem to have a lot of emotion in common. Young men out to prove themselves to the world. Look at their almost identical defiant stances, sturdy jaws and facial expressions.

    Source: Mark Laita c/o Fahey/Klein Gallery

  • Company President/Janitor 12 of 26
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    You never know. The guy on the right could have been the guy on the left but for a single circumstance that changed the course of his life forever.

    Source: Mark Laita c/o Fahey/Klein Gallery

  • Fur Trapper/Woman With Dog 13 of 26
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    To juxtapose these two is fascinating. In a weird way, they each wear fur for the same reasons; to keep warm and as a sign of prestige in their own environments.

    Source: Mark Laita c/o Fahey/Klein Gallery

  • Ballerina Trucker 14 of 26
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    This is when the differences in the human body almost make the two appear to be of different species.

    Source: Mark Laita c/o Fahey/Klein Gallery

  • Boy With Fireflies/Moonshiner 15 of 26
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    Boys and their hobbies...

    Source: Mark Laita c/o Fahey/Klein Gallery

  • Ballerina/Boxer 16 of 26
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    Although at first glance these two seem like opposites I bet they lead very similar lifestles.

    Source: Mark Laita c/o Fahey/Klein Gallery

  • Young Boxer/Retired Boxer 17 of 26
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    Generations apart but closer than ever.

    Source: Mark Laita c/o Fahey/Klein Gallery

  • Vegetarian/Butcher 18 of 26
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    Two men with a preoccupation with animals.

    Source: Mark Laita c/o Fahey/Klein Gallery

  • Mariachis/Elvis Impersonators 19 of 26
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    Something tells me these guys would all get along.

    Source: Mark Laita c/o Fahey/Klein Gallery

  • French Chef/Short Order Cook 20 of 26
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    The same. Yet so, so different.

    Source: Mark Laita c/o Fahey/Klein Gallery

  • Gang Member/Mafioso 21 of 26
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    Similar expressions. Power. Control. Dominance. Fearlessness. Anger.

    Source: Mark Laita c/o Fahey/Klein Gallery

  • County Fair Livestock Contestant/Cajun Man 22 of 26
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    Again, so different and yet not so different.

    Source: Mark Laita c/o Fahey/Klein Gallery

  • Rock Band/Polka Band 23 of 26
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    A bunch of dudes who really dig music.

    Source: Mark Laita c/o Fahey/Klein Gallery

  • Newlyweds/Married Couple 24 of 26
    equal-30

    A lifetime of difference. Except the ones on the right were once the ones on the left.

    Source: Mark Laita c/o Fahey/Klein Gallery

  • Bank Robber/Deputies 25 of 26
    cop

    What if I told you this guy robbed a bank to be able to buy food for his kids? What if I told you one of these police officers beats his wife? I don't know that that's the case but isn't interesting to speculate that the world isn't as black and white or good and bad as we sometimes make it out to be?

    Source: Mark Laita c/o Fahey/Klein Gallery

  • Woman In A Bar/Gold Prospector 26 of 26
    Woman-in-Bar-Gold-Prospector-2007-2006

    What people will do for money...A gold digger is a gold digger.

    Source: Mark Laita c/o Fahey/Klein Gallery

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