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Created Equal: Photographer Explores Social Inequality in America

Detroit-born photographer Mark Laita questions what it is in life that puts people, who were born equal, to follow completely different paths. His album Created Equal is a a study of social and cultural clashes, as well as the influence of different background, schooling and upbringing. All diptychs in the book compare two people, who 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.

Created Equal, Mark’s first non-commercial work, took him 8 years to complete and was published in 2010. “I photograph what I love about my country, which is the American. By that I mean the individual who is shaped from more than 200 years of liberty and independence mixed with all the successes and failures that America has experienced in its short life. So here is a collection of these creatures. Tragic and wonderful, great and ordinary, they stand proud and ready for scrutiny,” says Mark. Discover what “the American” is to this photographer!

Website:, Book: Created Equal

1. Company President / Janitor

2. Fitness Model / Heart Surgery Patient

3. Marine / War Veteran

4. Baptist Minister / Ku Klux Klan

5. Homeless Man / Real Estate Developer

6. Lingerie Model / Woman in Girdle

7. Gang Member / Mafioso

8. Astronaut / Alien Abductee

9. French Chef / Short Order Cook

10. Amish Teenagers / Punk Teenagers

11. Female Body Builder / Drag Queen

12. Catholic Nuns / Prostitutes

13. Cowboy / Indian

14. Coal Miners / Male Exotic Dancers

15. Vegetarian / Butcher, 1999 / 2004

16. CEO / Messenger, 2006 / 2005

17. College Graduate / High School Dropout

18. Indigent Couple / Wealthy Couple

19. Showgirl / Librarian

20. Rock Band / Polka Band, 2006 / 2006

21. Ballerina / Trucker

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What do you think?

  • Izabela R-a via Facebook

    good one

  • Măi Ană via Facebook

    the vegetarian guy looks nice

  • Claudio Tolomei via Facebook

    Female Body Builder / Drag Queen i can’t barely see the difference if wasn’t for an extra tail in the pants :P

  • Paola Gracia Gimeno via Facebook


  • Katja Nesramnica via Facebook

    interesting, but on the other hand, just a bunch of stereotypes, really. But it adds to the contrast and this makes the pivtures interesting i guess.

  • Petr Brodík via Facebook

    so true, haha

  • Vikki Don Eva via Facebook

    Some of the combinations are very interesting. This series really makes one think where (s)he would want to be on the spectrum of stereotypes. I wonder how many people identify themselves with any of the photos and how many would see themselves in the middle.

  • Nam Tzồ via Facebook

    I almost look like “high school dropout” guy

  • Eugénie de Mistival via Facebook

    Not just about social inequality.

  • Jay Sowell via Facebook

    The images were interesting but I forgot what the point was half way through. It was just OK.

  • Martin Čapek via Facebook

    Astronaut / Alien Abductee epic

  • MFabiana Ríos via Facebook

    I find them too much sterotyped…

  • Stéphane LeBoutillier via Facebook

    Amazing! The catholic nuns/prostitutes was quite a… contrast :)

  • Krzysztof Perry Kwiatkowski via Facebook

    if catholic nuns are equal to prostitutes so why there was no jews equal to german nazist?

  • Asma Ferdousi


  • Reegan D. Breu via Facebook

    Definitely reinforces stereotypes.

  • Isa Loeb via Facebook

    My favorite is the ballerina and truck driver

  • Morgan Stewert via Facebook

    Just a collection of stereotypes and inherent value judgments. Nice try, no cigar.

  • Vote with your pocketbook via Facebook

    I recognize a lot of prejudice, ignorance, and by design stereotyping on the part of the wannabe excuse for an artist who put this travesty together. So Native Americans are drunks, poor people are dirty, and working people are fat? He should go back to selling out in the commercial world.

  • Kim Carter Taveroff via Facebook

    I really feel like the artist is playing into preconceived stereotypes, as others have pointed out. This really feels like a cop out. No matter how striking the images are, the concept is basic and really not all thought provoking. It is the job if an artist to make us think outside the box, to make us see things from a new perspective. Sure, these stereotypes DO exist, but why not challenge the viewers prejudices? Show the world that exists outside the box.

  • Stephen DiRado via Facebook

    Ok, okay, so we have these comparisons right? But how were they picked? I betcha a million dollas that you can mess with this contrast in a big way. I would like to see two bodies somewhat a like and yet, maybe, just maybe in their eyes you can find the difference. Go back in history and study photographers like Avedon or August Sander. They were one of the first to study personalities, deadpan front and center. Laita gets credit but the work still makes me question the absolute point? Should I not become a truck driver unless if I plan to display a gut as big as tires?

  • Claudio Tolomei via Facebook

    Good point and to be honest the truck driver and the ballerina contrast didn’t make much sense to me, even as stereotype. :P

  • Marek Šling via Facebook

    Where does it say they are equal? The questionable topic here is if we are indeed born equal. I beg to differ. The only equality in anybody’s birth is that we are all born naked, small and wrinkled and as somebody says “most newborns look like Winston Churchill” Therefore your comment about Jews and nazis makes no sense. Our views of different society classes are governed by our upbringing, our background and our beliefs.

  • Gino DiIorio via Facebook

    I’m the one on the right

  • Michelle Maslov Forman via Facebook

    I’m sorry… but was there a situation where an army of prostitutes tried to murder every living nun? I missed that.

  • Ian Kramer via Facebook

    Help, help I’m being victimized!

  • Randee Lynn via Facebook

    Do these pictures seem weight biased to anyone?

    • Elena Sophoula

      also this.

  • Chloe Bernard via Facebook

    I was thinking exactly the same for Female Body Builder / Drag Queen… She looks the same.

  • Quentin Rayar via Facebook

    Stupéfiant !

  • Karl Baden via Facebook

    i was going to comment ‘stereotype’, but looks like i’ve been beaten to it a dozen times

  • Unka Odya via Facebook

    i was surprised at the indian with the bottle. was that a stereotypical prop or was he really drunk all the time?
    also, 11. Female Body Builder / Drag Queen – nice one.

  • Sheila Fowler via Facebook

    nope… I’m pretty sure my photo was not taken by him ;)

  • Connie Johnston Cantrell Steidl via Facebook

    I think I look like the woman on the left, but I look in the mirror and I look closer to the one on the left hahahalol

  • MoniCa PariHar via Facebook

    Amazing piece of work….kudos to the photographer!!

  • Lidia Mössmer Gibson via Facebook

    Who says we are born equal? That is the first fallacy .

  • Petra Blumkaitis via Facebook

    i think i need more explanation on why some of these people/labels have been paired together. i don’t see what they have in common. overall it’s a fairly boring set of photos, certainly nothing new and no new edge or ideas presented.

  • Lia Havermans via Facebook

    Not all librarians look that bored ;)

  • Amy

    Strange (sexist) choice of images. Half of the women depicted are scantily clad, thus placing the focus on their bodies. Less than one quarter of the men are shirtless.

    • Cleo

      That’s not true.. if you’re showing prostitutes and lingerie models, you can’t clad them in burqas.. the rest of the women are all decently clad..

    • aae

      I guess you must have seen the whole series right?

  • Krzysztof Perry Kwiatkowski via Facebook

    As I see you missed a lot. History not hurt. Its time to learn some

  • Anonymous

    this isn’t really “exploring” or saying anything. they’re overly-simplistic, extreme generalizations.

    • Rob

      Have to agree with you here. Kind of disappointed.

    • fizz

      But isn’t that the whole point? Who created these generalisations if not us?

  • D A Luzanto Diaz via Facebook

    Eduardo Saldaña Pavez

  • AlinaandT

    nice idea but not exactly standing by it’s concept. Some comparisons dont stand on the same ground, for example: young fit girl and older man. Or young lingerie model next to an older woman, or your marine compared to old vet. These were off, pictures should be of people in the same age, if he claims to compare people based on social criteria or choices they made, do it, dont put young and pretty next to old and ugly, we all know that common perception of old is ugly, and nobody CHOSE to be old, so this is where this project fails. You cant compare young person to old person. Most of the other pictures are ok if the point was to make you think about what choices people make.

  • Julia Agnes

    wow photos!

  • En Ton Llimona via Facebook

    Innocent u must see

  • aae

    Great photos, great idea.

  • Megg612

    This is random pairings of people smashed together, I don’t see the connections between them or the point being made. Also the style choice is weird and not trying to hide the efforts to make the poorer folks look bad. Swing and miss.

  • normalpeople

    you people are morons

  • sam

    Are there any other stupid stereotypes ?

  • Shashiant S

    High school dropouts are more fun. Wrong image. See me ! :D