Atlas of Beauty

Beauty is not a question of money, makeup or background — this is the message of Romanian photographer Mihaela Noroc who portrays young women from all over the world. Most notably, her photographs are (largely) wide angle portraits, not focusing on perfect skin and hairstyle, but on women, their eyes and natural, authentic beauty and environment. The message is that true beauty can be found anywhere. All it takes is a concept and dedication.

Colombia | Mihaela Noroc
Colombia | Mihaela Noroc
The style of 29-year-old Mihaela Noroc’s photography is as authentic as her subjects/objects are. Her photography is all about the natural, unaltered human being, and in the end this is what true photography is all about, at least in my book. Human-less images with the occasional awkward object, beautiful landscapes and post-processed fantasies are all well and good.

Nice landscape photographs are balsam to calm the mind. But to truly, as a photographer, interact with humans as Mihaela Noroc does, well this is, to me, what’s the inspiring essence and challenge of photography. Capturing real people the way they just are. These portraits? Beautiful simplicity, and what locations! “Makes you feel like you’re there right alongside them,” reader Patricia wrote me.

In contrast to the constant barrage of women’s fashion magazines declaring what is attractive, appearance is all in the eye of the beholder. Globalization makes people start doing and looking all the same, says Mihaela Noroc who traveled more than 60 countries on a shoestring to find the women for her work. Her gear? A camera with probably a 50mm and a 28mm lens. Gear anyways is just the messenger here. What matters is the authenticity. “Our beauty,” says the Romanian photographer, “lies in our diversity.”

Latvia | Mihaela Noroc
Latvia | Mihaela Noroc
Sometimes she only spent a few minutes with a woman. In Moscow it was rainy and the only place to shoot was in the subway. And her backdrops always seem to perfectly complement the portrayed.

Don’t feel much when looking at plain pictures of buildings, streets, architecture or whatever objects. They may be nice looking pictures, but there’s no emotional response. Place the emotional factor of a person in it. Photos with people touch a nerve. And this is what makes Mihaela Noroc’s photography so beautiful. Her work’s style is not shouting for attention. She just shows plain, natural people in their plain, natural beauty. Bull’s eye.

Her portraits are succulent, earthy, rich, alluring. They’re not about perfection, they’re not pretending to make something look nicer than it is. They just show. They’re honest, they’re real, they’re spot on, with a perfectly balanced colors and shadows. And goes without saying: natural light only.

+++ You can follow Mihaela Noroc’s portrait photography on Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr.

San Francisco | Mihaela Noroc
San Francisco | Mihaela Noroc
Iran | Mihaela Noroc
Iran | Mihaela Noroc
Brazil | Mihaela Noroc
Brazil | Mihaela Noroc
Iran | Mihaela Noroc
Iran | Mihaela Noroc
U.K. | Mihaela Noroc
U.K. | Mihaela Noroc
Ecuador | Mihaela Noroc
Ecuador | Mihaela Noroc
Baltic Sea | Mihaela Noroc
Baltic Sea | Mihaela Noroc
Myanmar | Mihaela Noroc
Myanmar | Mihaela Noroc
Indonesia | Mihaela Noroc
Indonesia | Mihaela Noroc
Cuba | Mihaela Noroc
Cuba | Mihaela Noroc
New York | Mihaela Noroc
New York | Mihaela Noroc
Australia | Mihaela Noroc
Australia | Mihaela Noroc
New Zealand | Mihaela Noroc
New Zealand | Mihaela Noroc
Romania | Mihaela Noroc
Romania | Mihaela Noroc
Amazon | Mihaela Noroc
Amazon | Mihaela Noroc



  • Wolfgang Lonien

    This is what beauty is all about, at least in my book. Brava Mihaela!

  • Dillan K

    As one ages, one sees how precious this sort of beauty really is. Places can stay the same for many years, but people change from day to day. Youth is, of course, a major theme in these photos, and youth is gone before you know what you have. These women will likely all be beautiful for many years to come, but the moments captured here will never be repeated. That is the value of portrait photography to me.