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Stunning portraits show what beauty looks like around the world

An indigenous Kichwa woman in the Amazon in Ecuador.Mihaela Noroc

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.




Noroc in Olinda, Brazil.Mihaela Noroc

“That’s how I started to love photographing women, in an honest and serene way.”

Elianis in Havana, Cuba.Mihaela Noroc

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.

An indigenous woman from the Omo Valley in Ethiopia.Mihaela Noroc

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.

Thorunn in Reykjavik, Iceland, is a singer, songwriter, and judge on “Iceland’s Got Talent.”Mihaela Noroc

Noroc wanted her photos to be an antidote to the terrible conflicts we see represented in the media today around the world.

A woman in Preu’s Colca Valley dressed in traditional clothing.Mihaela Noroc

She wanted to show the beauty in diversity.

A woman dressed in traditional clothing in Kaesong, North Korea.Mihaela Noroc

And that instead of being a catalyst for conflict, diversity should be something that’s both embraced and respected.

Koleka photographed in Cape Town, South Africa.Mihaela Noroc

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.

Linda photographed in Chechnya, a republic of Russia.Mihaela Noroc




“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.”

A woman on her way to the market in Jodhpur, India.Mihaela Noroc

Thanks to donations from people across the globe, Noroc has been able to work on the project full time.

Imane, who has both African and European roots, in Paris.Mihaela Noroc

She’s taken photos in every continent besides Antarctica.

A girl working in the fields of the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan.Mihaela Noroc

She’s captured beauty in places that range from the Amazon rainforest to the Tibetan Plateau.

A woman in traditional dress in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.Mihaela Noroc

Noroc says she prefers photographing more natural faces without a lot of makeup.

Gita, a life coach who lives in Örebro, Sweden.Mihaela Noroc

She believes that, “if our outside is natural and authentic, our inside will be more visible.”

A woman photographed in Romania.Mihaela Noroc

“Through my camera, I try to dive into their eyes, because their eyes will always say an interesting story.”

A woman photographed in Uzbekistan.Mihaela Noroc

She also tries to capture her subject’s environment, since that often makes up an important part of their story.

A woman in Shiraz, Iran.Mihaela Noroc

She photographed this woman in Naples, Italy, working in the workshop owned by her parents.

Serena photographed in Naples, Italy.Mihaela Noroc

Noroc can get by in five different languages, so if she can, she tries to talk to her subjects and listen to their story.

Sayaka in Tokyo, Japan.Mihaela Noroc

In some places, though, she says talking simply becomes body language.

Anais was photographed in Berlin, where she lives, but she was born in France to a Malian mother and a French father.Mihaela Noroc

Through her work, Noroc has come to realize that beauty should not be defined within the narrow confines dictated by trends.

Sarah photographed in San Francisco.Mihaela Noroc

“… beauty has no bounds, and it’s not a matter of cosmetics, money, race or social status, but more about being yourself.”

A Tibetan Woman in Xiahe, China.Mihaela Noroc

Noroc says we also need to learn to let others be themselves.

Katharina photographed at Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany.Mihaela Noroc

“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.”

Sona during the Holi festival in Kathmandu, Nepal.Mihaela Noroc

Noroc also feels that her photographs give women a chance to show the pride they have for their culture or country.

A woman photographed on Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.Mihaela Noroc

This in turn helps to inspire confidence in these women.

Eleni in Delphi, Greece, on Easter.Mihaela Noroc

Noroc has come across much discrimination towards women throughout her travels.

A woman in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.Mihaela Noroc

She hopes that her photos will help to make a small change in the way that women are treated.

Elisabeth, a ceramic artist, photographed in Zurich, Switzerland.Mihaela Noroc

“I hope that the project will make more people understand that women deserve much more respect.”

A Bedouin woman in Petra, Jordan.Mihaela Noroc

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.

A woman photographed in Harlem in New York City.Mihaela Noroc




Not surprisingly, Noroc also identifies more with women.

Ania, photographed in Poland, was born without a right leg.Mihaela Noroc

“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.”

A girl photographed in San Antonio Aguas Calientes, Guatemala.Mihaela Noroc

Noroc says we’re surrounded by beauty in our day-to-day lives. But sometimes we’re just too busy to see it.

A woman photographed in Syndey, Australia.Mihaela Noroc

“We can find beauty all around us: in a smile, in two kind eyes, in some wrinkles, in a story, in a gesture.”

A woman photographed in Moldova.Mihaela Noroc

 

Source : http://www.businessinsider.com

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