Beauty comes in all colors, ages and sizes. Meet photographer Mihaela Noroc, who travels the world to capture the diversity of beauty through portraits of women.
From tribal Ethiopia to uniformed North Korea – beauty can be found everywhere. No one knows this better than Romanian photographer, Mihaela Noroc, who has been traveling the world for several years documenting the diversity of beauty through portraits of women. Her project, The Atlas of Beauty, has more than one million followers on Facebook and now her stunning photos are collected in a book.
It’s no wonder that we reached out to Mihaela as part of our Travelers We Love series for a talk about diversity, female beauty and traveling the world.
Can you please tell us a bit about the thought process behind The Atlas of Beauty project?
For years photography was just a hobby for me. I was working in other fields to make a living and, during holidays, I was backpacking to different parts of the world. That’s how I landed in Ethiopia in 2013.
Right away, I was fascinated by the women I saw there. Some were living in tribes, just as nonchalant about nudity as their ancestors had been generations before. Others were part of conservative communities, covering their heads. While others, in big cities, were embracing modern life. They were shining like stars – with dignity, strength and beauty.
If there’s so much beauty and diversity in one country, what about the rest of the world? I realized that the wonderful women of our planet need much more attention. I also realized that I could combine my two passions, traveling and photographing women, while creating a necessary project.
Why did you decide to only photograph women?
I have been interested in photographing women since my first encounter with a camera. When I started photography, 15 years ago, my first subjects were actually my mother and my sister.
Over the years I tried different types of photography, but I’ve realised that I have to focus on a niche area and develop my skills around it, instead of investing time and energy in different directions. This niche was photographing women.
Everywhere around the world, there’s so much pressure on women to look a certain way and there’s also so much discrimination against them. I believe an honest photo project about women of the world, about their struggles and dreams, is really necessary and could really make a change.
How do you choose the people you photograph and how do they react when you approach them?
I try to find all kinds of faces that have the power to communicate a story, a mood, an attitude without words. The stories come as a completion of the photo.
It’s actually very challenging to approach strangers in so many different countries and environments. You need to be humble and overcome your timidity.
In some places, women are suspicious, thinking that I’m trying to sell something or to scam them. In other places, they are raised in conservative environments and don’t want to be photographed. Some are just shy and don’t feel comfortable in front of the camera. I have been refused many, many times, but fortunately, most of the women that I approached were happy to be part of the project and felt flattered.
Read more: https://www.momondo.com/discover/article/the-atlas-of-beauty