mihaela noroc was a hobbyist photographer back when she was working at a TV station in her native romania. Whenever she had the opportunity to
block out a few weeks here or there, she traveled the world. in 2013, she flew to ethiopia
for two weeks. enchanted by the differences in
the country’s religious sects and cultures, most
immediately visible by traditional dress—from
partially nude tribal women in one region to
the muslim women wearing burkas in another—noroc was amazed that such diversity
could coexist in one country. What about in the
world? she wondered.
That year, noroc, 27 years old at the time,
decided to embark on a mission to photograph beauty around the globe, taking portraits of women of all kinds and asking each
for their story. This past fall, she shared them
in The Atlas of Beauty: Women of the World
in 500 Portraits, with the aim to illustrate
what she felt back in ethiopia: that diversity
shouldn’t be a catalyst for conflict but a treasure to marvel.
The Atlas of Beauty
by mihaela noroc
ten speed press
You mentioned in the introduction to
your book that this project has helped
you discover yourself. In what way?
Mihaela Noroc: i think i’m much more confident as a woman. i’m photographing women because i’m a woman. it’s easier for me to
connect with them and there’s instantly going
to be more trust. it’s difficult for a man to approach women on the street and photograph
them. and also for me to approach and photograph men is very different—i’m not interested
in that. So photographing women is probably
going to be something that i’ll do all my life. i
hope so. it’s such a never-ending, diverse subject that i want to follow.
How did you find your portrait subjects?
MN: i have social media followers from all over
the world, so before i go to one country, i will
post a message on my facebook account asking locals if they have any information or if they
know of places i should go to. i usually go in
really crowded areas. i also have recommendations from people who know somebody i
TOP: Noroc, who photographed this
woman in Pushkar, India, was happy to
see a number of women in uniform all
over the world.