A controversial series of portraits photographed by Mark Laita places viewers in an uncomfortable spot as they view through diptychs that depict the raw realities of life.  Laita's 'Created Equal' pairs provocative portraits that stray from using photography to beautify or enhance an image.  Rather his 'Created Equal' series remain honest and real. 

"Almost all commercial work has a committee or focus group making certain that the end result is nice...I felt the need to produce something that was raw and real, as life truly is, not just what we aspire to." "So much photography we see now is heavily retouched and beautified to the extent that it's no longer photography. It's some sort of marketing monster we've spawned," said Laita.  "Reality is harsh and these images aim to show that."

Laita told each of his subjects that their portrait may appear in a book, but disclosed information about how he will display them, in fear that they may decline to participate.  The photos would eventually be presented as Americans juxtaposed and ranged in subjects from polygamists, strippers, children, white supremacists, marines, astronauts, nuns, pastors, chefs, janitors, and businessmen. 

The collection of photos took Laita 8 years to complete.  The artist hopes to depict the country as it is rather than how people would like it to be.  The images may make viewers uncomfortable or cringe and that may be one of the photographer's intent.  As the Laita explains, "If life doesn't make you uncomfortable you're not aware of what's going on around you."

Click "START" to check out Mark Laita's controversial photos.

Related Article: Rare Color Photos from World War 2 Era