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What is the ‘Atlas of Beauty’?

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Sounds like some beauty algorithm? However, it isn’t. The Atlas of Beauty is a collection of 500 portraits of women from different nooks and corners of the world narrating their tales, their personal histories, and their lives through the lens and glossy paper of Mihaela Noroc. Noroc’s luminous Atlas of Beauty has been published in a book form by Ten Speed, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

The Atlas of Beauty
The Atlas of Beauty (Image Source:


Mihaela Noroc is a renowned Romanian photographer who takes up projects and showcases them via Facebook and Instagram. Noroc has been observing women for a pretty long time. As per her, they have been these beautiful yet silent voices of our world.

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The ‘Atlas of Beauty’ is a multi-year project to present the world’s women in one, massive photographic essay, she was thousands of miles into the first of her multiple circumnavigations. The pages shine, not because of the gloss but because of the soulful, bright and vibrant women who have been photographed and inked here.

The intrepid photographer entered motherhood while she was on this two-year project. Her brainchild includes snaps of her daughter too.

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The Atlas of Beauty
Noroc writes, “A short break from The Atlas of Beauty. My daughter, Natalia, is napping”. (Image source and caption source:

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“Northern Vietnam, with its spectacular landscapes, fascinating ethnic groups, and beautiful stories, has a special place in my heart. Here people have to work hard to earn a living. The beautiful hands of this woman say everything. But when I met her she didn’t complain about anything, on the contrary, she was happy to talk about her past. Di is 86 years old and she is a Hmong. She told me that she had a very beautiful life, together with her loving husband and their five children. 15 years ago her husband passed away and since then she has never taken off these earrings, made by him. Beauty shines everywhere and so does love.” (Image source and caption source:


“I photographed Caitie in Melbourne, Australia, last December. If you search in the dictionary the word “tradesman” one of the meanings is “skilled worker”. And that’s Caitie’s job. Unfortunately, in many dictionaries, the world tradeswoman doesn’t even exist. For hundreds of years, certain jobs were only meant for men. But things are changing. Caitie’s speciality is tiling. She explained to me that a good tiler needs to be dexterous, patient, meticulous so no reason a woman should feel less fit for this job. Yes, we need more women in politics, top management, science, but also in constructions. Caitie is thrilled when little girls stop on the street, paying attention to her while she works. Because she loves to inspire more and more girls and women to do this job or any job they dream of. To make it more effective she also started an Instagram page about her everyday work. Tile by tile, women like Caitie build a more equal and beautiful world.”, states Noroc. (Image source and caption source:


“I met Yansa last October, on the colonial streets of Old Havana, where she was playing with her band, at a terrace. Yansa plays the flute since she was 8. While most of the other children were outside, playing, she was inside, practising hard, defying the heat and the tiredness. But she told me that all the sacrifices worth it. Economically speaking, there are many shortages in Cuba. Humanly speaking, there’s no shortage of beautiful people.”, writes Noroc. (Image source and caption source:


“She is Jois, performing ritual purification in the holy spring water of Tirta Empul, an astonishing Balinese Hindu temple in Bali, Indonesia. She often comes here in search of serenity and harmony.”, writes Noroc. (Image source and caption source:


“Dressed in this charming outfit, she was hurrying on the streets of Copenhagen, Denmark, a few days ago.
Alice is a physiotherapist. At 84 she works with passion every day. When I met her she was on the way to a patient who is an auto mechanic. “He fixes my car. I fix his back!” She told me her patients would simply not want to work with another physiotherapist so she doesn’t plan to retire soon.”

Take a glance at ‘The Atlas of Beauty’ here.

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