“I want to photograph your mother.” I told him. “Why?” He asked me. “Because she is beautiful!” I replied. He proudly smiled and looked at his mother: “Yes, she is!”

Michaela Noroc chose to travel the world and show how diverse beauty is. Her journey took her from Stockholm to Ethiopia, Mongolia to Ecuador… She tells us about the women who she met along the way

As an ex-backpacker, photographer Michaela Noroc became fascinated by the diversity that she saw on the planet. When she was young she had practised her craft by taking photographs of her mother and sister, so she decided to combine her passions for travel and photography and capture shots of other women around the world. Thanks to the power of social media, the images that Noroc shared with her friends and they were soon being seen and liked all of the world. With the response Noroc got she said that she decided to work a little harder and The Atlas of Beauty was born. She has now photographed women in more than 50 countries and hopes to release a coffee table book in 2017 of the women that she photographed. “In The Atlas of Beauty ordinary women represent their culture, environment or country with pride, says Noroc. “They become more confident about themselves and the people around them are more respectful.”

 

SOPHIA, BULGARIA Tzvetana is an amazing mix of grace and strength. Her name comes from the word "flower", in Bulgarian. She plays for the national ice hockey team. It meant great sacrifices to follow her dream, because ice hockey is an expensive and tough sport, and she did it without losing her innocence and beautiful smile.
OMO VALLEY, ETHIOPIA This young woman is from the Arbore Tribe. They live their life in the same way as they have done for thousands of years. But as a new 4G mobile mast has been installed, she is about to see some changes.
STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN I met Emilia as she was on her way to work. She told me about the happiest moment. It was when the young soprano had just been offered a part at the Royal Swedish Opera. She said how being able to share with such famous opera singers was a huge honour for her and knowing that her family were in the audience made her feel even prouder.
NEW ZEALAND: A young Maori girl that I photographed in New Zealand.
AMAZON JUNGLE, ECUADOR: A few months ago I entered in the amazonian jungle of Ecuador to capture images for The Atlas of Beauty. I found a very expressive young woman in the Kichwa tribe. She dressed in her wedding dress that she used when she was 15 years old and let me take her some photos in her garden.
KATHMANDU, NEPAL She was walking on the streets of Kathmandu, Nepal together with her son. She didn't speak English, but he did.
"I want to photograph your mother." I told him.
"Why?" He asked me.
"Because she is beautiful!" I replied.
He proudly smiled and looked at his mother: "Yes, she is!"
SICHUAN, CHINA This mother of two children was busy cleaning her house when I knocked on her door. This is how she was dressed when she welcomed me in. She was incredibly elegant and graceful. The Tibetan women, with their red cheeks caused by the tough climate, remind me of ancient paintings.
ATHENS, GREECE Athina is from Athens, Greece and she's a professional runner. She broke the national record of 3000m steeplechase and hoped to compete in Rio. However, an injury means she will have to wait for another four years. I rarely heard people talking with such enthusiasm about their passions. No amount of suffering will stop Athina from reaching her dream.
WAKHAN CORRIDOR, AFGHANISTAN She invited me inside her home and showed me her wedding outfit. Although they live in a tough and isolated environment, Wakhi people are amazingly welcoming and friendly.
ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIA When she was ten years old, Anastasia accompanied her sister to a ballet audition, without imagining that this will change her life. The teacher insisted that Anastasia should take the test too. They were both accepted. Ten years later, Anastasia is part of Mariinsky, one of the world's the leading ballet companies. Her sister recently started law school.

Main image: A mother and her two daughters from Syria who now live at the Idomeni refugee camp in Greece.

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