05/08/2013 03:49 pm ET

Mark Laita's Photo Series 'Created Equal' Explores Our Striking Differences (PHOTOS)

Mark Laita

When we think of the differences and similarities among human beings, the distinctions often boil down to the familiar categories: Democrat and Republican, rich and poor, old and young.

Photographer Mark Laita explores how we connect and diverge in his striking black-and-white photo series "Created Equal." Juxtaposing people of different backgrounds, occupations and appearances, Laita depicts the extreme differences separating us while illuminating a fundamental sameness. By contrasting an astronaut with an alien abductee and a polygamist and a pimp, the artist strays from the usual categorizations that divide and unite us.

Following in the footsteps of American portraitists like Richard Avedon, Laita combines humor, darkness and beauty in his photos. In an email to the Huffington Post, the photographer explained: "These images are presented together not as judgements, but rather to let the viewer think for themselves about how the two individuals in the photographs relate and what that means."

He continues: "I simply think people are tremendously interesting. That two little girls can grow up in this country and one grows up to become a Catholic nun and the other a prostitute is endlessly fascinating to me. These photographs make me think about how and why they took these different directions, not whether one is 'good' or 'bad.'"


Created Equal