Photographer Challenges Beauty Standards with Images of Women From 60 Countries
By Tatiana Bido, Features Editor |
For Romanian photographer Miheala Noroc, her project, The Atlas of Beauty, is much more than just taking photographs of women from different parts of the world. In an essay published by Bored Panda, the artist says she wanted to show how what is considered beautiful in mass-media is just one narrow perspective. The artist’s intention behind the powerful portraits of women around the world was to show how society promotes beauty ideals that do not represent the diverse ranges of women she’s encountered during her travels.
She has African and European roots and she loves the diversity of the world. Imane is from Paris and studies arts. Besides going to her university she also works in 3 restaurants and does babysitting to support herself. She had some time before a job interview so when I noticed her she was visiting an art exhibition in Pompidou Centre from Paris. That’s the ideal place to think about her dream. Imane wishes to have a big art gallery someday that will bring artists from very different cultures, together, so she could combine her love for arts and for diversity. #TheAtlasOfBeauty #AroundTheWorld #Paris #Arts
“For me, real beauty has no age, colors or trends,” wrote Noroc. “You can find it in Africa or in Europe, in a village or in a skyscraper, in a smile, in a gesture, in an intense gaze, in some wrinkles or in a story. You can find it in every kind-hearted human being.”
I took this photo last year in the Wakhan Corridor, Afghanistan. She was working in the field in one of the most remote places of the world, a place where nature and people are beautiful but life is so harsh. The terrible conflicts that dominated Afghanistan for the past 40 years never reached her village but were always very close, taking from her any chance to have a better life. These days I’m in Iraqi Kurdistan, another amazing place of our planet with beautiful people that suffered so much because of the wars. If we could really see and appreciate the beauty of our planet, we could make it a much better place for everybody. #Afghanistan #Wakhan #AroundTheWorld #TheAtlasOfBeauty
Facebook invited me to photograph six remarkable women for International Women's Day 2016. In the past three weeks I travelled in six countries, to capture six amazing stories. In this photo is Thorunn, from Iceland. You can visit my Facebook page(The Atlas of Beauty) to see all the photos and stories. Happy women's day! #TheAtlasOfBeauty #aroundtheworld #Iceland
Her project, now a book also titled The Atlas of Beauty, took four years to complete with more than 500 portraits that span 60 countries. “In a time of hate and intolerance, I want to send a message about love and acceptance. I hope this book will get into many homes around the world, convincing more people that diversity is a treasure and not a trigger for conflicts and hate. We are very different but at the same time we are all part of the same family.”
With each portrait comes a short description of where the photograph was taken and the subject's background. While the photographs themselves are stunning and highlight the beauty and diversity of women around the world, the descriptions that relate to religion, family, education, stereotypes and societal pressures of each subject help to tell the story of the challenges women face globally. In addition to having to deal with the messages the media and society places on women and their appearance, many of the subjects are working hard to help support their families or further themselves in an uncertain world. Beyond the aesthetic beauty present in the photos, Noroc also captures the beauty of perseverance and courage.