Mihaela Noroc quit her job in Romania in 2013 and made the bold decision to go backpacking around the world full-time. During the following 3 years, Noroc traveled to every continent (except Antarctica), visiting a total of 50 countries. She spent those years taking pictures of women to see how beauty is defined around the world.
She calls this photographic series ‘Atlas of Beauty.‘
“More than ever, I think our world needs an Atlas of Beauty to show that diversity is something beautiful, not a reason for conflict,” Noroc explains, “I hope that the portraits from The Atlas of Beauty can challenge many misconceptions that exist around the world.”
One of the most impressive abilities Noroc has besides courage and talent is that she is proficient in five languages. That helped her tremendously as she was able to easily interact with the people she photographed. When she didn’t speak the local language, she communicated via translators or had to rely on body language alone.
At the moment, Noroc is hoping to fund her journey further and wants to collect enough photographs by 2017 to publish a book. You can follow Noroc’s trip and view more of her work on her Facebook and Tumblr accounts.
Keep scrolling to see some of her amazing images.
Below: This is Mihaela Noroc posing in Bogotá, Colombia. She is a 30-year-old photographer traveling the world taking photographs of women from different countries and cultures.
Below: Noroc has spent three years traveling for her “Atlas of Beauty” series. This woman was photographed on the streets of Moldova.
Below: “I walk hours every day, in very different environments and I try to find relevant faces and stories for each place,” Noroc says. This woman was in Peru.
Below: She also finds subjects online. Sometimes she’s invited back to their homes. Here, an Ecuadorian woman poses in her living room.
Below: This woman sells things in the market in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
Below: Noroc photographed women in the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan. “Although they live in a rough and isolated environment, Wakhi people are amazingly welcoming and friendly,” she says.
Below: So far, Noroc has been to around 50 countries. Here, a woman smiles in Omo Valley, Ethiopia.
Below: She tries to capture each woman in her surroundings. This woman was snapped in Thorunn, Iceland.
Below: “I prefer to photograph natural faces, without a lot of make-up,” Noroc says. Here, a woman sits at a tea house in Istanbul, Turkey.
Below: Noroc says this Ethiopian woman is a Muslim, but her best friend is Christian. “While traveling in Ethiopia in February, I admired the way Christians and Muslims got along,” she says, “But in the same country, there are dozens of terrible ethnic conflicts.”
Below: Noroc visited the Amazon Rainforest in Kichwa, Ecuador and took pictures of the women there.
Below: She has been expanding her project to include a wider range and diversity of subjects, both old and young. This picture was taken in Bukhara, Uzbekistan.
Below: “In some countries I approach 10 women and maybe only one accepts,” she says, “In other places, everybody accepts.” This was in Maori, New Zealand.
Below: “Usually, in Western countries, I’m never refused [when I ask to take a picture],” Noroc says. This woman poses in Harlem, New York.
Below: An Uzbek woman in Kyrgyzstan.
Below: Here, a Buddhist nun poses in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Below: Noroc photographed this woman in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Below: This woman is a computer engineer from Cairo, Egypt.
Below: Traveling across the Java Sea in Indonesia.
Below: Going to North Korea was like “stepping [onto] a totally different planet, with different rules,” Noroc says. This woman was photographed in Pyongyang, North Korea.
Below: This woman was spotted in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Below: Noroc says this woman in Guangzhou, China, was on her way to the hospital with her mother and husband to give birth.
Below: A woman standing on a pier in the Baltic Sea, Finland.
Below: A painter in her studio in Valparaiso, Chile.
Below: A woman poses on the streets of Havana, Cuba.
Below: A ballerina displays her talent in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Below: “For me, beauty is diversity, [it’s] what makes us unique,” Noroc says, “I also believe that beauty can teach us to be more tolerant.” Below, a woman in the streets of Iran.
Below: A young woman in Cape Town, South Africa.
Below: A woman in Oxford, UK.
Below: Wearing traditional dress in Otavalo, Ecuador.