I Photographed Women In 20 Countries To Change The Way We See Beauty

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.

#1 Kathmandu, Nepal

Kathmandu, Nepal

Sona was celebrating Holi when I met her.

#2 Ethiopia


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.

#3 Baku, Azerbaijan

Baku, Azerbaijan

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.

#4 Tehran, Iran

Tehran, Iran

Mahsa is a graphic designer and is proud of the fact that from the time she turned eighteen, she has been financially independent.

#5 Amazon Rainforest

Amazon Rainforest

She was wearing her wedding outfit.

#6 Wakhan Corridor, Afghanistan

Wakhan Corridor, Afghanistan

She was working in the field in one of the most remote places of the world.

#7 Chichicastenango, Guatemala

Chichicastenango, Guatemala

Maria was selling vegetables in the market of a small village.

#8 Kathmandu, Nepal

Kathmandu, Nepal

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.’

#9 Pokhara, Nepal

Pokhara, Nepal

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.

#10 Idomeni Refugee Camp, Greece

Idomeni Refugee Camp, Greece

This mother and her daughters fled the war in Syria.

#11 Nampan, Myanmar

Nampan, Myanmar

I met this lovely lady at a local market.

#12 Bucharest, Romania

Bucharest, Romania

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… Read More

#13 Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik, Iceland

Thorunn brings Icelandic women together via a popular online community.

#14 Korolyov, Russia

Korolyov, Russia

Nastya takes passport photos in this little shop, but her dream is to take landscape photos around the world.

#15 Omo Valley, Ethiopia

Omo Valley, Ethiopia

Her tribe is called the Daasanach. With the high temperatures here, nudity is not unusual.

Lisbon, Portugal

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.

#17 Berlin, Germany

Berlin, Germany

Anais has a Malian mother and a French father and feels both African and European.

#18 Pushkar, India

Pushkar, India

While traveling from country to country, I was happy to see that women have joined public forces all over the world.

#19 Havana, Cuba

Havana, Cuba

An actress? A model? No, she wishes only to finish her studies and become a nurse.

#20 Zürich, Switzerland

Zürich, Switzerland

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.

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