Romanian-born photographer Mihaela Noroc has been photographing women around the world for the last four years.
She’s captured portraits in close to 60 countries from Afghanistan to Iceland.
Noroc is calling her project The Atlas of Beauty, and she’s planning on publishing a book of her photographs in September of this year.
Keep scrolling to see her breathtaking work and to learn more about the project.
Noroc got her first camera at the age of 16. Her first subjects were her sister and mother.
“That’s how I started to love photographing women, in an honest and serene way.”
A 2013 trip to Ethiopia inspired her to return to photography, which she had abandoned after her teachers at university discouraged her from pursuing it professionally.
The Atlas of Beauty started off as a small project funded only by Noroc’s personal savings and known only in her home country, Romania.
Noroc wanted her photos to be an antidote to the terrible conflicts we see represented in the media today around the world.
She wanted to show the beauty in diversity.
And that instead of being a catalyst for conflict, diversity should be something that’s both embraced and respected.
The project didn’t stay small for long. Word of Noroc’s work spread quickly, and before she knew it, she had an inbox full of messages from people around the world.
“I felt a lot of pressure but I also understood that I have to work harder, I have to capture more diversity, find more inspiring stories and I can really send a message that will be heard.”
Thanks to donations from people across the globe, Noroc has been able to work on the project full time.
She’s taken photos in every continent besides Antarctica.
She’s captured beauty in places that range from the Amazon rainforest to the Tibetan Plateau.
Noroc says she prefers photographing more natural faces without a lot of makeup.
She believes that, “if our outside is natural and authentic, our inside will be more visible.”
“Through my camera, I try to dive into their eyes, because their eyes will always say an interesting story.”
She also tries to capture her subject’s environment, since that often makes up an important part of their story.
She photographed this woman in Naples, Italy, working in the workshop owned by her parents.
Noroc can get by in five different languages, so if she can, she tries to talk to her subjects and listen to their story.
In some places, though, she says talking simply becomes body language.
Through her work, Noroc has come to realize that beauty should not be defined within the narrow confines dictated by trends.
“… beauty has no bounds, and it’s not a matter of cosmetics, money, race or social status, but more about being yourself.”
Noroc says we also need to learn to let others be themselves.
“For me beauty is diversity and it can teach us to be more tolerant. We are very different but we should realize that we are all part of the same family.”
Noroc also feels that her photographs give women a chance to show the pride they have for their culture or country.
This in turn helps to inspire confidence in these women.
Noroc has come across much discrimination towards women throughout her travels.
She hopes that her photos will help to make a small change in the way that women are treated.
“I hope that the project will make more people understand that women deserve much more respect.”
Noroc is often asked why she doesn’t photograph men. In response, she says she wanted to focus on a single theme for her project.
Not surprisingly, Noroc also identifies more with women.
“Of course men are beautiful too, but I chose to photograph women because I’m a woman too, I understand better their struggles and dreams so every photo that I take is also a way to know myself better.”
Noroc says we’re surrounded by beauty in our day-to-day lives. But sometimes we’re just too busy to see it.
“We can find beauty all around us: in a smile, in two kind eyes, in some wrinkles, in a story, in a gesture.”
Source : http://www.businessinsider.com