'THE ATLAS OF BEAUTY' BY MIHAELA NOROC, A VISUAL POETRY OF REAL WOMEN FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Article originally written for Rebel Femme Online Magazine
55 countries visited.
500 portraits of real women, from every corner of the world.
352 pages of a unique photography collection.
4 years of hard work.
1 incredibly stunning book project.
This is The Atlas of Beauty, created by the talented Romanian photographer Mihaela Noroc.
I am deeply and humbly honoured to share her work with you.
Please, keep reading and lose yourself with me in this fantastic adventure project full of beauty and soul.
Mihaela's passion for photography was born when she was sixteen-year-old and received her first nice old camera, surrounded by an artistic atmosphere immersed in hues of colours and inspiration, thanks to her painter father.
Intrigued by that gift, she started to take pictures of her mother and sister, because she was too shy to be on the streets and interact with other people. And it was at that moment that Mihaela fell in love with photographing women. Mihaela then studied photography at the university, but her insecurities about her professional skills led her to other kinds of jobs, just for money, and to care about photography only as a side hobby.
Another passion was travel and as an active backpacker, she visited many places, admiring the cultural beauty and the interweaving differences of our planet.
In particular, a trip to Ethiopia in 2013, symbolized the turning point in Mihaela’s life: travelling the world while photographing the niche of the (underestimated) real natural beauty of women.
Thus, a big leap towards self-confidence brought to the realization of The Atlas of Beauty.
Starting as a small project, it powerfully gained popularity on social media, creating an effervescent appeal around this beautiful human project, led by a woman and addressed to all women (and the entire humankind, of course). The increasing interest and the real appreciation for The Atlas of Beauty got people involved to the point of donating and supporting the project itself, helping Mihaela in her photographic project, in the name of beauty, in every spot of the world.
As Mihaela Noroc states: “For me, ‘beauty’ is ‘diversity’.
It is much more than what we often see today in mass media. If you put the words ‘beautiful woman’ into Google, you’ll mostly see very similar images of seductive women. But on the streets of the world, beauty has many more facets. We just have to open our eyes and see it. In the end, beauty is in our differences, it’s about being yourself, natural and authentic, not about trends, race, or social status.
All women are beautiful in their way. "
And she also states that: "In The Atlas of Beauty, women don't play roles, they are not perfect. But they are natural and authentic, proving that real beauty means being yourself. While travelling, I noticed that there’s a lot of pressure on women to look and behave in a certain way. In some environments, it is pressure to look attractive. In others, on the contrary, it is the pressure to look modest.
But every woman should be free to explore her beauty without feeling any pressure from marketing campaigns, trends, or social norms. Real beauty comes from inside, inspiring serenity and humanity, so if our outsides are natural and authentic, our insides will be more visible. We need to learn to be ourselves, but to do that we also have to learn to let other people be themselves.”
And she also powerfully says:
“There’s much love, beauty, and compassion in the world and I see it with my own eyes. Yet, few sources of hate and intolerance can ruin all this. Many times, the victims of intolerance are women, and while on the road I hear many heartbreaking stories. "
"I think now more than ever our world needs an ‘atlas of beauty’ to present the struggles and dreams of everyday women, to send an empowering message to all of them."
Thus, for the female photographer the objective of this atlas is "to prove that diversity is something beautiful, not a reason for strife." She wishes that her "project will encourage more women, and also men, to follow their own path, to explore their own beauty, without feeling constrained."
And she goes on: "I want to honour the wonderful women of our world. To show that their beauty has no bounds, so acceptance, love, and compassion shouldn’t either. I hope this book will get into many homes around the world, convincing more people that diversity is a treasure and not a trigger for conflicts and hate."
"Beauty can teach us to be more tolerant. We are all very different, but through this project, I want to show that we are all part of the same family. We should create paths between us, not boundaries.”
The Atlas of Beauty portrays 500 pictures of real women, human and (un)perfect creatures with interesting stories (that you can/will read in the book), natural faces and little (or no) make-up, naturally bound to their surrounding environments as part of their everyday lives.
A celebration of real unretouched beauty unravelling from every corner of the planet: mile after mile, from Brazil to Iran, from Afghanistan to North Corea, from Tibet to New York, and so many more places except Antarctica.
An exploration of diverse and unique beauty.
A masterpiece of a myriad of hues, united in its harmonious difference.
A respectful act of acceptance, inclusion, love.
And yes, we all really need beauty, acceptance, inclusion, and love, now more than ever.
Thank you, beautiful soul, Mihaela.
And you, what are you waiting for?
Purchase now your book here or by clicking on the image below:
Photo copyright and credits: Mihaela Noroc