The magazine of the photo-essay
October 2017 issue
The Atlas of Beauty
“A free, really high quality photo-essay magazine.  Fabulous!” Stephen Fry. British actor, writer and film maker
by Mihaela Noroc
I photograph women around the world to show that beauty has no bounds. My name is Mihaela Noroc and I am a thirty-two-year-old female photographer from Bucharest, Romania. Beginning in 2013, I have traveled the world with my backpack and my camera, photographing everyday women in a natural and serene way. My goal is to showcase that beauty has no bounds, and that the diversity of our world is a treasure, not a reason for conflicts. I have photographed more than two thousand women in every corner of the world, and when there was no language barrier I listened to their stories. My project is called The Atlas of Beauty and it has just become a unique book featuring 500 of my best portraits, from more than 50 countries, accompanied by stories that capture a rare glimpse into the daily experience of women.
IDOMENI REFUGEE CAMP, GREECE. This mother and her daughters fled the war in Syria.
AMAZON RAINFOREST, ECUADOR. She was wearing her wedding outfit.
WAKHAN CORRIDOR, AFGHANISTAN. She was working in the field in one of the most remote places of the world.
PARIS, FRANCE. Anja is Belgian with Polish origins and dreams to compete in the Paralympic Games.
NAMPAN, MYANMAR. I met this lovely lady at a local market.
PARIS, FRANCE. Imane has African and European origins and dreams to open an art gallery for artists from all over the world.
ULAANBAATAR, MONGOLIA. She's wearing a deel, which is a traditional outfit commonly seen in Mongolia.
BERLIN, GERMANY. Anais has a Malian mother and a French father and feels both African and European.
DELPHI, GREECE. On a normal day, Eleni works in her family’s restaurant. But once a year, she dresses like this for Easter. It’s fascinating to see that, despite the fact that Greece is a modern country, it preserves many of its ancient traditions.
SICHUAN PROVINCE, CHINA. Among the most graceful women I encountered, this Tibetan mother of two in a rural village looked like this the moment she opened her door to me; she had been cleaning her house, and yet she was wearing her jewelry. I found that Tibetan women display this kind of style in every moment of their lives.
MILAN, ITALY. The daughter, Caterina, is a ballerina and her biggest supporter is her mother, Barbara.
CHICHICASTENANGO, GUATEMALA. Many women of the world carry great burdens every day, either literally or figuratively. And they do it with so much tenderness and positivity.
WEST JERUSALEM, ISRAEL. Rikki, an Israeli of Russian descent, loves to wear vintage clothes every day.
CUENCA, ECUADOR. A moment of tenderness at the food market.
NAPLES, ITALY. Serena makes these little horns, “Cornicelli,” which are ancient good-luck charms popular in Naples and parts of southern Italy.
RAMALLAH, PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES. Amal (her name means “hope” in Arabic) is Palestinian, but had lived in Saudi Arabia from age five, when her family moved there.
HAVANA, CUBA. An actress? A model? No, she wishes only to finish her studies and become a nurse.
IDOMENI REFUGEE CAMP, GREECE. Alice is a British volunteer holding a Kurdish refugee from Syria.
POKHARA, NEPAL. Every weekend, many people from this town spend their time on this splendid lake. 
TEHRAN, IRAN. Mahsa is a graphic designer and is proud of the fact that from the time she turned eighteen, she has been financially independent.
ISTANBUL, TURKEY. Pinar is a theater actress. While she loves playing different roles on stage, in real life, she adores being herself, natural and free.
ZURICH, SWITZERLAND. When they were small, most of the kids laughed at the red hair of these two sisters, Patricia and Rebecca, but that brought them closer to each other.
BUCHAREST, ROMANIA. Magda regularly organizes fashion shows in which the models are women in wheelchairs.
PYONGYANG, NORTH KOREA. Rarely have I seen such a concentration of uniforms; they are everywhere in this society. This woman was a guide at a military museum.
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BISHKEK, KYRGYZSTAN. This photo was taken just before her performance in a traditional dance.
Reprinted with permission from Atlas of Beauty by Mihaela Noroc, copyright (c) 2017. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. Photographs (c) 2017 by Mihaela Noroc