We often identify ourselves and one another as being black or white, or red or yellow. But Angélica Dass, a Brazilian photographer, has set out to record and catalog every precise variation of human skin tone there is. Dass has aptly titled the project HUMANÆ and says says all the participants are volunteers that reached out to her after reading a call which the photographer posted on her social media accounts.
So far she has photographed people from Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Paris, and Chicago in addition to several other locations around the world. The mission statement for HUMANÆ explains:
“Humanæ is a “work in progress” by the Brazilian Angélica Dass, who intends to deploy a chromatic range of the different human skin colors. Those who pose are volunteers who have known the project and decide to participate. There is no previous selection of participants and there are no classifications relating to nationality, gender, age, race, social class or religion. Nor is there an explicit intention to finish it on a specific date. It is open in all senses and it will include all those who want to be part of this colossal global mosaic. The only limit would be reached by completing all of the world’s population.”
After taking a portrait, the photographer samples an 11 x 11 pixel area from the subject’s face on the image she took of them. She then matches the sampled area to it’s exact Pantone color, which is used to fill the background of each portrait. Once finished, Dass organizes the portraits horizontally, keeping the design of the collection in line with the traditional Pantone chart layout. This is intended to keep the project formal and ethical. “…the artist makes an “innocent” displacement of the socio-political context of the racial problem to a safe medium, the guides, where the primary colors have exactly the same importance that the mixed ones.”