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What does beauty mean in a globalized world?

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Meet photographer Mihaela Noroc in Cape Town and find out what she learned after travelling the world for three years in search of female beauty for her project ”The Atlas of Beauty”.

With just a carry-on backpack and a big smile on her face, Mihaela Noroc arrived in South Africa to spend a couple of days with us and the women of Cape Town. We followed the self-started Romanian photographer to find out more about her project ”The Atlas of Beauty“ for which she travels the world to document the different interpretations of female beauty across the globe and learn how her view on beauty has changed over time. With our vintage Mercedes-Benz W 123, we explored the neighbourhoods of Observatory and Woodstock, spent time downtown and went to the townships of Khayelitsha, Crossroads and Guguletu, trying to get a glimpse of the diversity of Cape Town that makes the city so fascinating.

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    While visiting one of the townships of Cape Town, Mihaela was fascinated by the gentleness of this lady in such a rough environment. For 30 years, she is selling meat at the same market. © Mihaela Noroc
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    Emma is an upcoming performer, sharing her love for dance in our video. © Mihaela Noroc
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    © Mihaela Noroc
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    © Mihaela Noroc
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    © Mihaela Noroc
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    © Mihaela Noroc
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    Poet Koleka is a strong voice in the cultural scene of South Africa. © Mihaela Noroc

For Mihaela, discovering a new country and culture means, meeting the women living there. She found many fascinating characters, three became part of our video. ”No matter where I go, it’s the women that carry all the culture and traditions of a place“. From the struggling young dancer Emma, to the poet Koleka and the neighbourhood café owner Karen, Mihaela got in deep conversations to find out what moves them, what their daily struggles and joys are, what brings beauty in their lifes.

”A beautiful women has to be herself. I try to have the women I portray only wear very little make-up if any. I try to really capture the essence of each person without much distraction.“ Says Mihaela about the visual style she developed within her photography over the years. Even if she says, she’s not a political person, the implications of Mihaelas project are well exceeding the notion of traditional beauty photography: ”First and foremost, my project celebrates the worlds diversity. I want to make a point, that its beautiful to be different and not to obey the same beauty standards everywhere“.

If you want to support the Atlas of Beauty project, find more information here and see more photos from Mihaela here.