Quitting the day job and heading into the horizon with nothing but a backpack and a camera sounds like the start of a Hollywood movie and remains an elusive dream for most of us, but five years ago Romanian photographer Mihaela Noroc did just that.
I can’t wait to return to Asia in about one month. My first trip there, with The Atlas of Beauty, was more than four years ago. I still remember very well this Tibetan woman who was both exhausted and happy, after a long pilgrimage to Labrang Monastery, one of the most important sites for Tibetan Buddhism.
As she explored different countries and terrains, she began taking photos of women she met along the way, documenting their inner and outer beauty and bringing their stories to her loyal Instagram followers. As the likes amassed and she began receiving comments from women all around the world, the personal project turned into something a lot more powerful. And so The Atlas of Beauty was born, a beautiful coffee-table book documenting 500 portraits of inspiring women from around the world.
Dania is from Amman, Jordan. She's a trainer in the first self-defense studio for women in the Middle East. “Before I was really, really shy. In school nobody knew my name, not even my teachers. I was so timid I couldn’t even stand up in class and answer a question, even if I knew the answer very well. But Martial Arts changed my life. Now I’m doing workshops and I’m giving classes of self-defense. I don’t think I will have to use my skills outside trainings. People see that I’m confident, they feel I’m capable to defend myself.” When I entered in SheFighter studio a few months ago, I discovered an amazing initiative and a splendid sisterhood between women from different environments. That’s real empowerment, not just words. I will post more stories from this amazing place in the future. #TheAtlasOfBeauty #AroundTheWorld #Jordan
In the foreword of her book Mihaela explains, "When I say ‘beauty’ I mean more than the beauty that we often see today […] I think that beauty is about being yourself, natural and authentic, about letting people see what is inside of you. Today it is not always easy to do that because there’s so much pressure on women to look and behave in a certain way.’
She's Sona during Holi, the festival of colours. This huge Hindu celebration is one of the most spectacular in the world. The day when spring comes, when good triumphs over evil, a moment to forgive and to be forgiven. I took this photo on the streets of Kathmandu, Nepal, a few days ago. Now I'm in Iran and soon the Persian New Year (Nowruz) will be celebrated here. #TheAtlasOfBeauty #AroundTheWorld #Nepal #Holi
With captivating images taken everywhere from the streets of Paris, to the Amazon rainforest and markets of India, The Atlas of Beauty is a true celebration of global beauty and a much thumbed treasure for team Grazia. We suspect it might just become one of the most inspiring tomes on your coffee table too.