Romanian photographer Mihaela Noroc recently traveled to 37 different countries around the world with the aim to show what beauty means in different cultures.
When describing her photography project, Noroc said that „My goal is to show that beauty is in our differences, not in trends, money or race.“
„I love to travel around the world, I love to capture the diversity of our planet, but for me there is only one home and its name is Romania.“
Let’s take a look at Noroc’s photo series „The Atlas of Beauty.“
A Bedouin young woman in Petra, Jordan. This marvellous city was built in the walls of a spectacular canyon more than 2300 years ago. Over the time it was under the rule of many empires and civilisations and its last inhabitants were the Bedouins.
“My parents and grandparents used to live here. My sister was actually born in one of these caves.” In the 80’s Petra became a World Heritage Site and the Bedouins from here moved to new villages. Today you can see some of them on the alleys of the ancient city selling souvenirs or guiding tourists.
You can’t imagine what a joyful woman is Ania. She has one of the most impressive stories that I ever heard. Ania was born in Poland, 24 years ago, without a right leg. Her mother abandoned her in the maternity hospital and begged a doctor to take care of her. “The doctor kept me illegally in the maternity hospital for many months. She knew that if I would be sent to an orphanage I could never have a normal life, in my situation.” When Ania was 19 months old, she was adopted by a Belgian family.
“My parents are amazing. They adopted more children with disabilities and we all grew up happily in the countryside of Belgium, surrounded by animals from farms, enjoying nature. I always loved sports. As a kid, I had many adventures. I was running on the rocks and in the forests, I was always feeling free and independent. I broke my prosthetic several times. Back than it was impossible to have a proper one for sport, because I didn’t have a femur. Every night, before falling asleep, I was imagining myself running and running like an athlete. And my only dream was to have a proper prosthetic for sport. After a while, I started to think that if I will become an well known athlete, my biological mother will see me in the media and I will have the chance to find her in Poland. I really wanted to tell her that I never condemned her for what happened.”
Koleka is a performance poet from South Africa. She was born in a family of 8 siblings in Port Elizabeth and now lives in Cape Town where I met her 5 months ago.
In a time when the success is mostly synonym with lots of money or huge popularity, it’s great to see that there are still so many wonderful people around the world that dedicate their life to art, although their path is full of struggles and challenges.
Besides the time when she recites her poems on a stage, some of the happiest moments in Koleka’s life are her birthdays. She thinks we should appreciate each year of our lives because getting older is a privilege, not something to take for granted.
I photographed these two Yazidi children a few days ago in a refugee camp from the Kurdistan Region in Iraq. Thousands of people from their community have been killed in the last 3 years just because they were different.
While visiting countries affected by conflicts I’ve seen with my own eyes the consequences of intolerance and discrimination. They are horrific!
In some parts of the world people are persecuted or even killed just because they are different. Sometimes the victims are Yazidis, other times are Muslims, Christians or Atheists. And no, it’s not the religion. Because other times people are discriminated for their colour, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. It’s about the hate of some people, encouraged by their leaders, towards other people that are different. And tomorrow you could also be affected.
The human kind made a huge progress since the Second World War in terms of human rights but we shouldn’t take anything for granted. We should continue to make this world a better place although there are moments when everything seems lost.
The smile of this little girl gives me hope in humanity. As long as the love is on our side we are stronger.
Mother and daughters from Syria.
Two weeks ago in Idomeni refugee camp, Greece.
Gita is from Örebro, Sweden.
I was having a bad day, after some difficult weeks of continuous traveling, but her serene presence and wisdom gave me a great optimistic mood.
She had difficult moments in her past but at 54 years she feels young and lives the best time of her life. She’s a life coach and the proud mother of two daughters.
For many people around the world this is how shopping looks like. They don’t have cars, big homes or bank accounts. But most of them are great examples of dignity, strength, generosity and honesty.
If more of those who have fortunes and power would learn from this wonderful people, we would live in a much better world.
I photographed this beautiful woman in Nampan, Myanmar, in 2014.
Sunita is one of the beautiful children that live in desert tent camps around Pushkar, India. Many tourists photograph her, because of her spectacular eyes, but a few are interested to help.
She badly damaged her left hand when she was little. Her father died almost a year ago. The tent camp communities have no power or plumbing, and there are a lot serious health problems.
Brett operates a school for 30 of these children, with well-qualified teachers and a nurse, and free food and medical care. He helped Sunita with hand surgery 18 months ago, and she is attending the school, coming by bus every 50km round-trip. She is excelling in Hindi, English, and Math, and wants to become a nurse or teacher. She just had her first ever birthday party at school, at age 13!
Although she was home in her isolated village, cleaning her house, this mother of two children was incredibly elegant and graceful. That’s exactly how I found her, after I knocked on her door.
Tibetan women, with their red cheeks caused by the rough climate, remind me of ancient paintings. Through their powerful eyes you can feel their inner beauty.
I took this photo in October 2015, in Sichuan Province, China.
Even on the rainy days, most of the people of Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, prefer to walk or use a bicycle, rather than a car.
Emilia stopped for a few minutes and told me about the happiest moment of her life. She was recently chosen for an important part in an opera. To step on the stage of Royal Swedish Opera, at only 20 years old, as a soprano, was an incredible experience for her.
Being surrounded by famous opera singers and having her family in the audience made her prouder than ever.
More at: The Atlas of Beauty
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