Romanian-born photographer Mihaela Noroc has been photographing women around the world for the last four years.
She’s captured portraits in close to 60 countries from Afghanistan to Iceland.
Noroc is calling her project The Atlas of Beauty, and she’s planning on publishing a book of her photographs in September of this year.
Keep scrolling to see her breathtaking work and to learn more about the project.
A 2013 trip to Ethiopia inspired her to return to photography, which she had abandoned after her teachers at university discouraged her from pursuing it professionally.
The Atlas of Beauty started off as a small project funded only by Noroc's personal savings and known only in her home country, Romania.
Noroc wanted her photos to be an antidote to the terrible conflicts we see represented in the media today around the world.
And that instead of being a catalyst for conflict, diversity should be something that's both embraced and respected.
The project didn't stay small for long. Word of Noroc's work spread quickly, and before she knew it, she had an inbox full of messages from people around the world.
'I felt a lot of pressure but I also understood that I have to work harder, I have to capture more diversity, find more inspiring stories and I can really send a message that will be heard.'
Thanks to donations from people across the globe, Noroc has been able to work on the project full time.
'Through my camera, I try to dive into their eyes, because their eyes will always say an interesting story.'
She also tries to capture her subject's environment, since that often makes up an important part of their story.
Noroc can get by in five different languages, so if she can, she tries to talk to her subjects and listen to their story.
Through her work, Noroc has come to realise that beauty should not be defined within the narrow confines dictated by trends.
'... beauty has no bounds, and it's not a matter of cosmetics, money, race or social status, but more about being yourself.'
'For me beauty is diversity and it can teach us to be more tolerant. We are very different but we should realise that we are all part of the same family.'
Noroc also feels that her photographs give women a chance to show the pride they have for their culture or country.
Noroc is often asked why she doesn't photograph men. In response, she says she wanted to focus on a single theme for her project.
'Of course men are beautiful too, but I chose to photograph women because I'm a woman too, I understand better their struggles and dreams so every photo that I take is also a way to know myself better.'
Noroc says we're surrounded by beauty in our day-to-day lives. But sometimes we're just too busy to see it.
'We can find beauty all around us: in a smile, in two kind eyes, in some wrinkles, in a story, in a gesture.'
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