In light of International Womens Day, we bring you photographer Mihaela Noroc, a young Romanian photographer, who travelled to 37 countries in the past 15 months to challenge the ideal of beauty in Western culture.
Mihaela believes beauty is all over the world; different cultures and ethnicities celebrate beauty in their own ways. This is what her project, the Atlas of Beauty, is all about.
“Beauty means diversity and I travel the world to discover it. From Western Europe to African Tribes, and from Rio de Janeiro to China, I try to capture, in my photos, natural and diverse faces.”
She was inspired to begin this journey when she visited Ethiopia three years ago. The beautiful women keeping their cultural traditions alive left Mihaela with a whole new view on beauty.
“I realized that beauty is not about cosmetics, money or trends but more about being yourself, natural and authentic.”
The Atlas of Beauty is a collection of photographs featuring culturally diverse women, being stunning in their own way. These are real women; women that are beautiful without being airbrushed, or starved. Some might blame her for mainly photographing women corresponding to Western ideals of beauty (thin women with flawless skin and long hair…). We still think these portraits are remarkable and put forward regional codes beauty and traditions.
Shes returned home to Romania, but her journey is not over. She needs more funding to continue working on her project. Shes counting on crowd-sourcing to help fund her next trips. Donors will also have a chance to vote for her next destination. Shes hoping to capture beauty in the Balkans, Middle East, Central Asia, East Africa, Nepal, India, Western Europe, and possibly a second trip to the United States.
Mihaela would like this Atlas to be known internationally as an inspiration for women to be themselves. Her photographs capture the essence of beauty in all forms.
By Hillary Loucks