Monochrome: A Quest for Less

Portraiture’s focus is on single-shade subjects.

Photographer: Paige Peterson
Hair: Brianne Cummins
Makeup: Kelsi Ziemann

About a year ago, Des Moines photographer Paige Peterson seized upon an idea that revved up her creativity and consumed her attention: “I loved the idea of taking portraits of people blending into their background. … And once an idea starts rummaging around in my brain, I can’t let it go.”

The concept sent her on a mission “to find people whose skin tone and hair matched,” she says. “Then I wanted the background and clothing to be a similar color as their complexion and hair but include an eye-catching accent piece that would provide a single pop of color or contrast.”

Peterson first contacted Samiya Abu-Youm, whose portrait she had shot a few years ago. From there, she says, “I looked for people everywhere I went.”

That “everywhere” included “stumbling into people randomly on the street,” Peterson adds. “I’m super intrigued by how people look. I have business cards that have ‘You are beautiful’ on them. I just walk up to people, hand them my card, and tell them I’d love to photograph them. You’d be amazed at how their faces light up when they see those three simple words.”

The result of Peterson’s quest? The monochromatic marvels—black, peach, caramel, red and white—below.

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