Mihaela Noroc

Story The Atlas of Beauty

© Mihaela Noroc

“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


─── Elizabeth Kahn, October 19, 2019

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.

kyrgyzstan woman wearing hat portrait photography in color by mihaela noroc, the atlas of beauty series
Kyrgyzstan
woman portrait photography in  the amazon rainforest color by mihaela noroc, the atlas of beauty series
Amazon Rainforest
Ethiopian woman portrait photography in color by mihaela noroc, the atlas of beauty series
Ethiopia


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.

three syrian women portrait photography in color by mihaela noroc, the atlas of beauty series
Syria
nepal woman portrait photography in color by mihaela noroc, the atlas of beauty series
Nepal
israel woman portrait photography in color by mihaela noroc, the atlas of beauty series
Israel


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.

A woman from Guatemala -portrait photography in color by Mihaela Noroc, the atlas of beauty series
Guatemala
two women from Switzerland -portrait photography in color by mihaela noroc, the atlas of beauty series
Switzerland
two american women portrait photography in color by mihaela noroc, the atlas of beauty series
USA


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.

north korea guard woman portrait photography in color by mihaela noroc, the atlas of beauty series
North Korea
Ethiopian woman portrait photography in color by mihaela noroc, the atlas of beauty series
Ethiopia
afghanistan woman portrait photography in color by mihaela noroc, the atlas of beauty series
Afghanistan


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.

iceland woman portrait photography in color by mihaela noroc, the atlas of beauty series
Iceland
Book Cover The Atlas of Beauty


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

 

Explore: Legendary Women in Photography, Photography and Love, The Adventures of Guille and Belinda, Fashion Photography in 10 Iconic Images