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Mihaela Noroc: The Atlas of Beauty

Mihaela Noroc, creator of The Atlas of Beauty, tells us, in her own words, how she became a “29 year-old photographer from Romania that quit her boring job and started a new life.”

Updated March 07, 2017 by Amanda Dixon

Mihaela Noroc: The Atlas of Beauty

Welcome to She Glows, a new blog series at b-glowing!

From artists (beauty and beyond) to fashion bloggers to musicians and authors, designers and DIYers —here we feature women we admire and who inspire us to do our own thing, too!

How perfect that our first feature is Mihaela Noroc, creator of The Atlas of Beauty. In her own words, she’s a “29 year-old photographer from Romania that quit her boring job and started a new life.”

Two years ago, she picked up her backpack and camera and began traveling around the globe, using her savings she made over many years of working. Love it when an artist explains her own work in her own words. We connected with Ms. Noroc and hope you appreciate reading thoughts straight from this innovator’s mouth.

Mihaela Noroc in action, in Myanmar Burma

“In this journey I photographed hundreds of natural women surrounded by their culture. The Atlas Of Beauty is about our planet’s diversity shown through portraits of women. I prefer to photograph natural faces, without a lot of makeup, and to capture that moment of sincerity and serenity that is so specific for women. I think everybody has to cultivate their own beauty, rather than copying something that doesn't suit her. In the end, the original is better than a copy.”

Romania (left) Ethiopia (right)

"Sometimes I have only 30 seconds to make a portrait, because I meet an interesting woman, by chance, on the street. Other times, I maybe spend one hour, photographing, after I found her on a social network the day before.


When I photograph a woman I talk a lot, I try to to make her feel special, proud and unique. I can get along in 5 languages and this helps me a lot, but in some countries, talking becomes body language.”

Mihaela Noroc in action in Cuba

“Traveling on a very low budget around 37 countries made me integrated in all kinds of environments. I took pictures with women in many different places from all continents, except Antarctica. I captured beauty in Brazilian favelas, rough neighbourhoods of Colombia, in an Iranian Mosque, on the Tibetan Plateau, in the biggest Buddhist temple of Myanmar, in the Amazon Rainforest, but also in fancy areas of Oxford, in downtown New York, and in the suburbs of Sydney.”

Nasir al-Mulk, Iran

Kichwa woman in Amazonian rainforest

Harlem, New York (left) Oxford, UK (right)

“Some people ask me why I only take photos with young women and don't try to cover other ages too. Through The Atlas of Beauty, I wish to compare the faces of the world and to show that all the women from my photos have something beautiful. But the comparison has to be made using similar conditions and so I choose only one age group, the one that I'm part of. I would love to cover other age groups too, but I want to do it properly. Until now I didn't have the money and the time to do it. I think beauty is not about age. Is more about being natural and sincere.”

Lima, Peru

“Now I can say that beauty is everywhere, and it’s not a matter of cosmetics, money, race or social status, but more about being yourself. Global trends make us look and behave the same, but we are all beautiful because we are different. In the end, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the beholder is always somebody else.”

Bogota, Colombia (left) Yangon, Myanmar (right)

Colca Valley, Peru (left) Maramures, Romania (right)

“My goal is to continue to take photos of women from each country of the globe, making The Atlas Of Beauty a mirror of our diverse societies and an inspiration for people that try to remain authentic. Maybe in 50 years all women from all around the world will dress and act the same. I hope my project will remain a witness of my era’s cultures and traditions. For now, this is just a dream, but if people around the world will help me, I can continue and complete the Atlas. In my previous journey I had dangerous moments, hard days of working, exhausting routes, unfriendly viruses, but I would do it again, with all my passion. In June 2015 I want to start a new journey, to new places of our planet, but it all depends on finding funds. After this new trip I will have enough images to publish the first edition of The Atlas, creating an universe of diverse beauty, between two covers.”

Tibetan Plateau, China

You can find Mihaela Noroc on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. See all images on her Tumblr, and you can help fund her project here.

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