The Atlas of Beauty: Celebrating the World's Diversity Through Portraits of Women by Mihaela Noroc
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
About two and a half years ago, I came across an article in Elle that was making the rounds on social media. The article had some strikingly lovely photographs of young women around the world. There was some information about Romanian photographer Mihaela Noroc and a link to her Instagram page, The Atlas of Beauty . In the magazine article, it's noted that Noroc was photographing only young women, providing a pretty dissatisfyingly narrow definition of beauty. But the photographs themselves were beautiful and sometimes the brief stories of these young women's lives were quite interesting. It was a like a shorter, yet broader, version of Humans of New York, about women. So I followed her Instagram account. Over the following two years, with all the media attention she received, along with a book contract, Noroc began to broaden her subjects, including many older women and sometimes even young girls. I began to eagerly look forward to her posts. Where would she go next? Who would agree to be photographed and what was their story? Traveling to more than fifty countries, she began to capture the common themes in women's lives- their personal struggles, their love of their work, their aspirations, their love of their children. What has emerged in this book is that universal truth, that we are all more alike than we are different, and yet, Noroc has still managed to capture aspects of the unique cultural differences, and, with some delicacy, describe some of the challenges women face.
After such a spectacular period (four years) of traveling the globe, sometimes with just a camera and backpack, I'm interested to see where Mihaela Noroc goes from here.
If you are looking for an affordable coffee table book to give for the holidays, at $18 and 352 pages long, this is a very good selection. Plus, it will help further the photographer's work, which I'm certainly all for!
Goodreads has a Giveaway for ten copies of this truly beautiful book, open until October 15, 2017.
As an addition to my Goodreads review of this book, I also wanted to share the Elle article that released later in 2015, about Noroc's photographs of Women of North Korea. Sometimes in all the rhetoric, we forget the real people in other countries. These young women were brave enough to pose for a foreign photographer. That in itself is beautiful.
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