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Tue May 15, 2018, 12:02 PM

"Atlas of Beauty"--PHOTOS: A 4-Year Mission To Present A New Vision Of Beauty

PHOTOS: A 4-Year Mission To Present A New Vision Of Beauty

Romanian photographer Mihaela Noroc spent nearly four years shooting portraits of — and collecting stories about — women from around the world. The product of her vision — and her travels to 50 countries — can be seen in her book The Atlas Of Beauty, hitting shelves Tuesday. The project, she says, began as something "very genuine and sincere" that she financed, initially, with her own savings — and by being frugal in her backpacking adventure. She later crowd-funded, including a Facebook campaign in March. NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navaro spoke with the 31-year-old via phone from Berlin about her photography. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Mihaela Noroc/Courtesy of Ten Speed Press

This book is called The Atlas Of Beauty. What is beautiful to you? What kind of beauty were you trying to evoke?
That's a very long story, actually. I'm going to try to make it short. You know nowadays the word usually has a little bit of a bad meaning in the end. And everything that's related to beauty is just related to marketing and sales. If you're going to put into Google, for example, 'beautiful woman,' you're just going to see women with parted lips and a little bit over-sexualized. And that's not what beauty means. In the end, I think beauty just means just being yourself. I don't think we have to change ourselves to be in a certain way; I think we just have to keep ourselves as we are and don't necessarily [need] to change.

Were you trying to reclaim the word 'beauty,' perhaps, from the male gaze and make it more about the way women see other women?

Maybe people that are going to look at my work are going to draw their own conclusions. I think I started the project in a very sincere way and the way it developed made us see some lessons from it.

Mihaela Noroc/Courtesy of Ten Speed Press

Tell me how the project started.

The project started almost four years ago, and I just traveled around the world for one year. And, in the beginning, I was not expecting to do a worldwide project. It was just something very genuine; I just was photographing people that I met and after a year, when [my project] became very popular, I realized that I have to be more responsible and I have to work more.

Mihaela Noroc/Courtesy of Ten Speed Press

The book features all these portraits of different women in different situations, of different ages, of different colors, of different sizes all over the world, and little snippets of their stories. How did you choose your subjects?

That's a very beautiful question because I think everything is very instinctual and, maybe, it's something that attracts you more than the appearance. Like a chemistry that happens for a moment between you and the person that you photograph. And you're just drawn to the people that you're going to photograph. It's something very natural, it's nothing planned. That's the beauty of it, and that's why the book is more honest and more sincere. Because if I would have planned everything, probably it would be very different.



North Korea



Amazon Rainforest

. . . . .


to see more images from "Atlas of Beauty"


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Reply "Atlas of Beauty"--PHOTOS: A 4-Year Mission To Present A New Vision Of Beauty (Original post)
niyad May 2018 OP
spicysista May 2018 #1
niyad May 2018 #2
robbob May 2018 #3
niyad May 2018 #4

Response to niyad (Original post)

Tue May 15, 2018, 12:20 PM

1. Wow!

Just, wow! These images are stunning. There's so much to digest in each picture........just beautiful! I especially enjoy the baby's eyes in the picture representing Nepal. The woman's hands in the picture from Guatemala, stir up memories of my great-grand father. The human race is so beautiful.
Great post, Niyad!

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Response to spicysista (Reply #1)

Tue May 15, 2018, 12:42 PM

2. Thank you. it is a truly amazing collection of images--of beauty.

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Wed May 16, 2018, 08:04 PM

3. I found the one from North Korea heartbreaking.

It’s just such a troubled country with a repressive dictatorship. And people live there, beautiful people. I hope humanity can find a way to bridge our differences and live in peace before we end up destroying ourselves.

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Response to robbob (Reply #3)

Thu May 17, 2018, 10:46 AM

4. we do, indeed, hope for just that.

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