“Real beauty has no bounds. One can find it anywhere, in a village or in a skyscraper, in a gesture, in an intense gaze or in some wrinkles: Real beauty is in our differences.” – Mihaela Noroc
Since 2013 photographer Mihaela Noroc travels the world photographing everyday women with one goal: To showcase that beauty has no bounds, and that the diversity of our world is a treasure, not a reason for conflicts.
MN: In 2013, a trip to Ethiopia changed my perspective. Right away, I was fascinated by the women I saw during that journey. Some were living in tribes, where nudity was normal. Others were part of conservative communities, covering their heads. And still others, in the big cities, were embracing modern life. Most of them were struggling and working hard, sometimes facing discrimination as women. But in these harsh environments, they were shining like stars—with dignity, strength, and beauty.
If there are so much diversity and so many stories in just one country, I surmised, what about the rest of the world? I realized that the women of our planet deserve much more attention, and that true beauty is usually unnoticed. At that moment, I started to dream and found the strength to break from my comfort zone, quit my job, and start this project.
MN: My father is a painter, so I spent my childhood surrounded by his paintings, enjoying the diversity of colors. When I was sixteen years old, I got my first camera.
I was too shy to go on the streets and take photos of strangers, so my first subjects were my mother and my sister. That’s how I started to love photographing women, in a cozy and tranquil way.
MN: In all corners of the world, from the streets of Manhattan to isolated Afghan villages, I felt there’s something deep that connects us all, as women and as human beings. It’s impossible to explain this in words, but I hope the photos from the book will express this feeling.
MN: For me, “beauty” is “diversity.” It is much more than what we often see today in mass media. In the end, beauty is in our differences, it’s about being yourself, natural and authentic, not about trends, race, or social status.
MN: With this project, I want to honor the women of our world. To show that their beauty has no bounds, so acceptance, love, and compassion shouldn’t either.
– The Atlas of Beauty is available for purchase here
All images © Mihaela Noroc