Romanian photographer Mihaela Noroc quit her job in 2013 to travel around the world visiting different countries and take photos of local women there. She's been to 50 countries in total on all continents and snapped pictures of hundreds of women to create her project "Atlas of Beauty." "More than ever, I think our world needs an Atlas of Beauty to show that diversity is something beautiful, not a reason for conflict," explained the photographer.
This is Mihaela Noroc posing in Bogotá, Colombia. The 30-year-old photographer travels the world taking photographs of women from different cultures.
Noroc has spent three years traveling for her "Atlas of Beauty" series. This woman was photographed on the streets of Moldova.
"I walk hours every day, in very different environments and I try to find relevant faces and stories for each place," Noroc tells Tech Insider. This woman was in Peru.
She also finds subjects online. Sometimes she's invited back to their homes. Here, an Ecuadorian woman in her living room.
Noroc photographed women in the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan. "Although they live in a rough and isolated environment, Wakhi people are amazingly welcoming and friendly," Noroc says.
"I prefer to photograph natural faces, without a lot of make-up," Noroc says. Here, a woman sits at a tea house in Istanbul, Turkey.
Noroc says this Ethiopian woman is a Muslim, but her best friend is Christian. "While traveling in Ethiopia in February, I admired the way Christians and Muslims got along," she says. "But in the same country, there are dozens of terrible ethnic conflicts."
She has been expanding her project to include a wider range and diversity of subjects, both old and young. This picture was taken in Bukhara, Uzbekistan.
"In some countries I approach 10 women and maybe only one accepts," she says. "In other places, everybody accepts." This was in Maori, New Zealand.
"Usually, in Western countries, I'm never refused [when I ask to take a picture]," Noroc says. This woman poses in Harlem, New York.
Going to North Korea was like "stepping [onto] a totally different planet, with different rules," Noroc says. This woman was photographed in Pyongyang, North Korea.
Noroc says this woman in Guangzhou, China, was on her way to the hospital with her mother and husband to give birth.
"For me, beauty is diversity, [it's] what makes us unique," Noroc says. "I also believe that beauty can teach us to be more tolerant." Below, a woman in the streets of Iran.
"[In India] I photographed subjects from very different environments," Noroc tells Tech Insider. "From poor women living in slums to Sonam Kapoor, one of the most popular Indian actresses." Here, an Indian woman poses at a train station.
"Many people tell me how the project changed the way they see beauty and diversity," Noroc tells Tech Insider. A woman on the streets of Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
But her project has received criticism for showing a narrow a definition of beauty. "There is also negative feedback sometimes, but you have to accept it, even if you find it unfair," she says. Below, a redheaded woman posing in San Francisco, USA.
"The internet can make you very popular but also very exposed to different opinions," she says. "Which is not bad, in the end." A blond woman outside a home in Latvia.
Noroc hopes to publish an Atlas of Beauty book after another year of traveling. This woman was photographed in Rio de Janeiro.
"There is much more diversity in the world, waiting for me, and I love to discover it. It's an infinite treasure," she says. Below, a woman in Myanmar.
Noroc also traveled around her home country of Romania. Here, a ceramic art student in a workshop in Cluj, Romania.
Noroc plans to continue to travel the world with just her backpack and camera. Her next stop? Greece.