Brazilian photographer Anjelica Dass is on a mission: to document every possible skin hue in the world. The ambitious artist is using head shots of models of various ages, genders, and races, taking 11×11 pixel samples of the complexion, then adding a background that aims to match exactly the color of their skin, using the Pantone color guide as a reference. She’s calling her endeavor The Humanae Project and chronicling its results on a Tumblr page.

Dass, 33, was recently featured on  “The Today Show,” which reported the following about her process:

Dass uses Pantone colors because their alphanumeric codes allow them to be accurately represented across different types of media. So far, Dass has only photographed in Spain, but she has her sights set on expanding her subject area. “What I really wish is to photograph all over the world,” the artist told TODAY.com.

In the  “Today Show” report, Samantha Randazo of Styleite admits she finds the endeavor dubious: “We’re somewhat skeptical that it’s possible to document every human skin tone, but even so, what a cool idea!” We’re inclined to agree. Is there a finite number of skin color possibilities? Would our culture adopt a Pantone-based system for referencing or cataloguing complexions and, if so, to what end?

Regardless of the project’s practical application possibilities, it’s definitely a fascinating concept, and the results, when viewed in the mosaic-like style in which Tumblr displays them, make a striking and beautiful statement about diversity and the vagaries of skin-tone differences.

What do you think? Is it possible to track every skin tone in the world? If so, in what ways could this information be used? 

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  • TheBestAnonEver, Part 2

    I look forward to seeing more darker colors. I ham sorry to say, people do not look good bare.

  • a color guide? aww hell! i hope this doesn’t become the skin version of the hair texture chart.

  • Can someone explain to me how 7522 C for both the man and woman are supposed to be the same skin tone? Lighting?

  • MK

    this is pretty cool. Hopefully she’ll be able to travel outside of Spain and capture more and more skin tones