My name is Mihaela Noroc, I'm a Romanian photographer who's been travelling the world for the past 4 years with my backpack and my camera, photographing everyday women and collecting their stories. My project is called The Atlas of Beauty.
My goal is to show that every woman shines like a star because beauty is diversity, and not just what we see in mass-media.
For me, the real beauty has no age, colours or trends. You can find it in Africa or in Europe, in a village or in a skyscraper, in a smile, in a gesture, in an intense gaze, in some wrinkles, or in a story. You can find it in every kind-hearted human being.
Now The Atlas of Beauty becomes a stunning book with more that 500 portraits and many interesting stories. In a time of hate and intolerance, I want to send a message about love and acceptance. 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. We are very different but at the same time we are all part of the same family.
In 2005 Magda experienced a terrible car accident, as a passenger. In most parts of the world, people in wheelchairs are condemned to isolation by authorities. While traveling around the planet I visited tens of countries where you don’t see them at all, in public areas. Why? Because in all those places, leaving your home in a wheelchair is almost an impossible mission due to that lack of infrastructure. But Magda wants to change the way people in wheelchairs are treated, at least in her country, through some amazing initiatives.
She is a Muslim and her best friend, another young woman who owns this small terrace, is a Christian. While traveling in Ethiopia, in February, I admired the way Christians and Muslims get along. I saw many beautiful friendships that go beyond religion.
Sona was celebrating Holi when I met her.
The daughter, Caterina, is a ballerina and her biggest supporter is her mother, Barbara.
Anais has a Malian mother and a French father and feels both African and European.
A moment of tenderness at the food market.
It was a Sunday in 2015 and just like every weekend, many people from Pokhara, Nepal were spending their time around the splendid Phewa lake.
With her features she could be on the covers of magazines in most countries of the world. But Elianis never thought about such things. She just wishes to finish her studies and become a nurse.
In a society dominated by men, where many women are still afraid to be photographed without asking permission from their husbands, things are changing. There are more and more Azerbaijani women who fight for gender equality and although they are now a minority, I'm sure they will soon be a majority. Fidan is one of these amazing women who would never start a relationship, if she wouldn't be treated equally and respected.
We live in a beautiful world and diversity is one of our greatest gifts. In the same time, this world became much more intolerant towards diversity, in the last years. But don't lose hope! I've seen with my own eyes during my travels that there's much more kindness in this world, than hate. We just have to notice it, share it with others and make this world a better place for our children.
Patricia and Rebecca, from Switzerland, are sisters. There’s only one-year difference between them. "When we were small, most of the kids laughed at our red hair. But that brought us closer to each other.” Years have passed and I noticed them in Zürich Central Station, two days ago. There was something magical about them.
Maria was selling vegetables in the market of a small village.
Thorunn brings Icelandic women together via a popular online community.
Omo Valley, Ethiopia
Her tribe is called the Daasanach. With the high temperatures here, nudity is not unusual.
Idomeni Refugee Camp, Greece
This mother and her daughters fled the war in Syria.
Wakhan Corridor, Afghanistan
She was working in the field in one of the most remote places of the world.
Imane has African and European origins and dreams to open an art gallery for artists from all over the world.
While traveling from country to country, I was happy to see that women have joined public forces all over the world.
Belgian With Polish Origins
Ania dreams to compete in the Paralympic Games.
Mahsa is a graphic designer and is proud of the fact that from the time she turned eighteen, she has been financially independent.
Alice was celebrating her high school graduation.
Pinar is a theater actress. While she loves playing different roles on stage, in real life, she adores being herself, natural and free.
She was wearing her wedding outfit.
Among the most graceful women I encountered, this Tibetan mother of two in a rural village looked like this the moment she opened her door to me; she had been cleaning her house, and yet she was wearing her jewelry.
While traveling from country to country, I was happy to see that many women have joined public forces all over the world. I met this young policewoman in Pushkar, India, almost two years ago.
She was walking with her son. She didn’t speak English, but he did. So I told him I wanted to photograph his mother. And he asked me why. 'Because she’s beautiful.' He proudly smiled and looked at his mother. 'Yes, she is.'
Nastya takes passport photos in this little shop, but her dream is to take landscape photos around the world.
I met this lovely lady at a local market.
An actress? A model? No, she wishes only to finish her studies and become a nurse.
She's wearing a deel, which is a traditional outfit commonly seen in Mongolia.
I met this young Yazidi girl from Syria in a refugee camp from the Kurdistan Region in Iraq. Hasa was feeling fortunate that she’s alive and has the chance to study. Unfortunately she lost six of her small cousins when Isis attacked her village in Syria.
While traveling in India, almost two years ago, I noticed that trains are the country’s vital circulatory system. They transport more than twenty million people every day. Just imagine twenty million fascinating stories! I wanted to hear hers but the train left after a few seconds from Jodhpur Station.
I met this mother and her daughter last year in Milan, Italy. Caterina began dancing when she was three years old. Her mother, Barbara, was supportive, but knew that there were few opportunities to study ballet in their small town so, although her husband and son had to remain home, she moved with Caterina to Milan, where her daughter could fulfill her dream and attend one of the most esteemed ballet schools in the world. Art requires huge sacrifices, but imagine how Barbara feels today seeing Caterina dancing on the celebrated stage of La Scala.
Natia, from Tbilisi, Georgia, studies Law and wishes to become a criminalist. She told me that her dream is to work for the FBI someday. In the meantime she already gained a scholarship and works in this coffee shop for a living.
Daniela is from Lisbon, Portugal and has Angolan origins. It’s lovely to walk on the streets of this gorgeous city and see so many diverse people living in harmony.
Many women of the world carry great burdens every day, either literally or figuratively. And they do it, like this lovely woman, with so much tenderness and positivity. I met her in January, in Chichicastenango, a small town from Guatemala.
I met this brave mother of three children last year in Idomeni Refugee Camp from Greece. She escaped from her hometown in Iraq, which was under ISIS’s control. She traveled a long road to Europe with her children, spending all her savings, in hope of a safer life.
Nastya works in a small shop where she takes passport photos. But her dream is to take landscape photos around the world. Some time ago she made the first step, starting to study photography. In her everyday job her dream might feel far away. But “far” doesn’t mean “impossible.”
A beautiful family dressed in stunning outfits made by the mother.
This German young woman travels as much as she can. Her loved ones are spread all over the world and she is still searching for a place where she would love to live.