Mark Laita

  • 3 Punts Mark Laita
    Young Man with Boom Box, Billy Monroe, Venice, California, April 26, 1999 / Sunbather, Joey Caveseno, Coney Island, New York, August 3, 2002.
    Fotografa b/n sobre paper fotogràfic sobre alumini
    50,8x 82,6cm. Díptic
    Ed.20
    Young Man with Boom Box, Billy Monroe, Venice, California, April 26, 1999 / Sunbather, Joey Caveseno, Coney Island, New York, August 3, 2002.
    Fotografía b/n sobre papel fotográfico sobre aluminio
    50,8x 82,6cm. Díptico
    Ed.20
    Young Man with Boom Box, Billy Monroe, Venice, California, April 26, 1999 / Sunbather, Joey Caveseno, Coney Island, New York, August 3, 2002.
    Fotografía b/n sobre papel fotográfico sobre aluminio
    50,8x 82,6cm. Díptico
    Ed.20
    Young Man with Boom Box, Billy Monroe, Venice, California, April 26, 1999 / Sunbather, Joey Caveseno, Coney Island, New York, August 3, 2002.
    B/w photograph on photographic paper on aluminium
    50,8x 82,6cm. Diptych
    Ed.20
  • 3 Punts Mark Laita
    Dominatrix, Nicole Diehl, Los Angeles, California, June 7, 2006 / Housewife, Melody Hecht, Lincoln, Nebraska, November 21, 2006.
    Fotografa b/n sobre paper fotogràfic sobre alumini
    50,8x 82,6cm. Díptic
    Ed.20
    Dominatrix, Nicole Diehl, Los Angeles, California, June 7, 2006 / Housewife, Melody Hecht, Lincoln, Nebraska, November 21, 2006.
    Fotografía b/n sobre papel fotográfico sobre aluminio
    50,8x 82,6cm. Díptico
    Ed.20
    Dominatrix, Nicole Diehl, Los Angeles, California, June 7, 2006 / Housewife, Melody Hecht, Lincoln, Nebraska, November 21, 2006.
    Fotografía b/n sobre papel fotográfico sobre aluminio
    50,8x 82,6cm. Díptico
    Ed.20
    Dominatrix, Nicole Diehl, Los Angeles, California, June 7, 2006 / Housewife, Melody Hecht, Lincoln, Nebraska, November 21, 2006.
    B/w photograph on photographic paper on aluminium
    50,8x 82,6cm. Diptych
    Ed.20
  • 3 Punts Mark Laita
    County Fair Livestock Show Contestant, Sara Von Berger, Salina, Kansas, August 8, 2003 / Cajun Man with Alligator, Charles Olivier, Loreauville, Louisiana, 2003
    Fotografa b/n sobre paper fotogràfic sobre alumini
    101,6 x 165,4 cm. Díptic
    Ed.6
    County Fair Livestock Show Contestant, Sara Von Berger, Salina, Kansas, August 8, 2003 / Cajun Man with Alligator, Charles Olivier, Loreauville, Louisiana, 2003
    Fotografía b/n sobre papel fotográfico sobre aluminio
    101,6 x 165,4 cm. Díptico
    Ed.6
    County Fair Livestock Show Contestant, Sara Von Berger, Salina, Kansas, August 8, 2003 / Cajun Man with Alligator, Charles Olivier, Loreauville, Louisiana, 2003
    Fotografía b/n sobre papel fotográfico sobre aluminio
    101,6 x 165,4 cm. Díptico
    Ed.6
    County Fair Livestock Show Contestant, Sara Von Berger, Salina, Kansas, August 8, 2003 / Cajun Man with Alligator, Charles Olivier, Loreauville, Louisiana, 2003
    B/w photograph on photographic paper on aluminium
    101,6 x 165,4 cm. Diptych
    Ed.6

CV - Biography: 

For over 20 years, advertising agencies worldwide have asked Mark Laita to bring his expertise, problem solving abilities and signature style to their most important campaigns. His clean, colourful, graphic product photography has earned him a reputation for award-winning work for clients such as Adidas, BMW, Van Cleef and Arpels and IBM. Based in Los Angeles since 1986, Mark Laita also maintains a studio in New York City. His grace, wit and straightforward manner provide for a relaxed and efficient working environment. Mark’s still life photography has been featured in campaigns for clients as diverse as Sony, Budweiser, Mini Cooper and Apple Computer’s iMacs and iPods. His work has been recognized year after year by Communication Arts, Archive, Graphis, the One Show and the Kelly Awards. Other than his work in advertising, Mark Laita has also developed several series of original artworks including the outstanding collection “Created Equal”. This series consists of 105 double black and white photographs, in which the diversity and extremity of North American society is reflected in an inexorable manner. “Created Equal” has been exhibited in Los Angeles (Fahey/Klein), Berlin (Camera Work), Photo Paris, and now, Barcelona. Coinciding with this exhibition Steidl publishing are releasing a book featuring the complete works of this fabulous series.

 

Information

Created Equal is a collection of double-images of black and white portraits which allow the photographer Mark Laita to give us a sneak peek into North American society, its radical economic, ideological, aesthetic and moral differences appearing through the dialogue between the two images. For seven years Mark Laita journeyed to ever corner of the United States impartially capturing each layer of a completely polarised society. He subsequently assembled all the material he had collected into analogies which show, with harshness, irony, elegance, drama, sympathy or simply pure ludism, the way North American society ends up separating individuals despite their background: created equal but with very different destinies. The analogies that Mark Laita creates to achieve this dialogue are formal, for example in the double-image in which an old white lady and a young black man, so different in essence, have in common things so picturesque as hair rollers and a cigarette in their right hand. The analogies are conceptual, for example where he shows a juggler facing an air traffic controller. These two examples show the extreme comparisons he makes. The captions which are incorporated into the photos are essential to the interpretation of the double-images: Laita gives the models details by stating the profession, name, city and state and finally the date on which the photo was taken. Prostitutes, Amish people, students, farmers, delinquents, middle-class people, policemen, drug addicts, truckstop waitresses, poverty stricken people, altar boys, chefs, pimps, librarians, rock bands, nudists or new age people, they all show us their realities through an overwhelming sincerity, evidently intentionally used by Laita. He takes on the risky challenge of confronting certain prejudices that society imposes, to create a globally appeal work showing the most traditional North American archetypes. It would be easy to compare this series with Richard Avedon’s 1979- 1984 work which, entitled In The American West, showed those about whom United States history books had never written.  It showed the most deprived sectors of the west of the country. The method was similar: social immersion and neutral viewpoint. However, with a collection of a total of 105 double-images, Laita doesn’t claim to rescue anyone or reveal the differences between those that live in misery and those that live in luxury. Laita, on the other hand, shows us what he has seen without making distinctions between class, he recreates them as equal and lets us decide if his analogies are legitimate or not at the same time as narrating a story to us that, although dramatic, doesn’t stop being what it is: the story of a town that is absolutely divided.

“At the heart of this collection of portraits is my desire to remind us that we were all equal, until our environment, circumstances or fate, molds and weathers us into whom we become. America´s extremes seem to be getting more severe. The chasm between the rich and poor continues to grow; the clash between conservatives and liberals is stronger than ever; even good and evil seem more polarized. Created Equal attempts to capture the faces of this extremity in America at the beginning of the 21st century. All of the 8 x 10 black and white portraits are diptychs, contrasting or comparing the two married images. Completed over the course of seven years, with each of the lower 48 states represented, these images explore themes such as religion, power, sex, wealth, and beauty. In an effort to present each person equally, lighting, camera angles, cropping, and expressions were kept consistent. To avoid unwanted influence of background elements, each of the subjects is stripped of their environment in order to maintain a neutral context. I found my subjects in a number of different ways. Sometimes I would do some research in advance, but usually we would simply show up in a town and see where things would lead us. Ultimately it was through conversations with auto mechanics, barbers or police officers that led us to some serendipitous meeting where a bootlegger, farmer or pimp was unearthed. In many cases, the Polaroid print was a great tool, either as a trade or as a lure. Very often my subjects didn´t trust me and wondered why I wanted to take their picture. In almost every case it came across as a very strange request. It just didn´t make sense in their world. They had never seen or heard of anything like it. Some of the people photographed were comfortable in front of the camera, but many had never had their picture taken before, especially in rural areas. Showing these people an 8 x 10 Polaroid of themselves for the first time and watching them stare at it in amazement was a wonderful experience. It seemed that the act of being photographed somehow made them finally feel appreciated and validated. I am particularly interested in individuals who wear their occupation, lifestyle or region´s burden on their faces and bodies. This naturalism is what I have tried to capture and it is my hope that this collection becomes a partial archive showing the spectrum from the innocent to the extreme in American culture”.
Mark Laita