Atlas of Beauty


Image above: Mihaela Noroc in Cuba. Courtesy of the artist.


At age 29 Mihaela Noroc left her job, packed her rucksack with some clothes and her camera and took to traveling the world, supporting herself with her lifesavings. She decided she would document the difference in standards of beauty across the globe, calling the project “The Atlas of Beauty.”Intending to travel to 35 countries in 16 months, she has so far travelled to 31 countries, including Iran, Peru, Colombia, Myanmar, China, Latvia, Georgia and Indonesia, capturing her subjects performing everyday activities in their native land. Most recently her travels took her North Korea and she describes the journey as entering into a different world.

'Indian woman in Japan©Mihaela Noroc, Indian woman in Japan. Courtesy of the artist.


Noroc was born in Romania, where she developed an affinity towards traveling and the arts. She has always loved meeting diverse people. She discovered photography at the age of 18 and gained experience by taking fashion and beauty shots. She worked hard, saved up, and then embarked on the project of her life. In the summer of 2013, she reconciled her love of travel with the experience she was gaining as a photographer with “The Atlas of Beauty.”. Norac has said that each woman represents the diversity and authenticity of what beauty means within any culture. Many times she will photograph the women within seconds of meeting them. This, she believes, contributes to her narrative: the diversity in similarity.

The Atlas of Beauty had originally called “Beauty around the World.” In each photograph, Norac portrays the subject’s hair, face, make-up, and indigenousness clothing, in order to capture the essence of female beauty. Noroc has received some negative commentary, because she only photographs younger women. She ripostes that she had to choose one age group to draw upon similarities. It has been argued, however, that beauty does in fact belong to the young.

By Jarelle Africa

Ecuador©Mihaela Noroc, Woman from Ecuador. Courtesy of the artist.


Yangon, Myanmar©Mihaela Noroc, Woman Yangon, Myanmar. Courtesy of the artist.


Rio de Janeiro©Mihaela Noroc, Woman from Rio de Janeiro. Courtesy of the artist.


Oxford,UK©Mihaela Noroc, Woman from Oxford, UK. Courtesy of the artist.


Maramures,Romania©Mihaela Noroc, Woman from Maramures,Romania. Courtesy of the artist.


New York, USA©Mihaela Noroc, Woman from New York, USA. Courtesy of the artist. 


Nasir al-Mulk, Iran©Mihaela Noroc, Woman from Nasir al-Mulk, Iran. Courtesy of the artist. 


Harlem, New York©Mihaela Noroc, Woman from Harlem, New York.  Courtesy of the artist. 



If you want to see more images go to her tumblr:




Now Here Then by Huger Foote, Published by Dashwood Books

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