The Atlas of Beauty: A Limited Worldview?

Photographer Mihaela Noroc is using crowdfunding to further her project, “The Atlas of Beauty.” On her website, Noroc writes, “Beauty means diversity and I travel the world to discover it. From Western Europe to African Tribes, and from Rio de Janeiro to China, I try to capture, in my photos, natural and diverse faces.”

On her “first journey,” which ran from August 2013 to November 2014,
Noroc traveled to 37 countries. She is asking for financial support to further her travels. Yet from reviewing her work on “Atlas” to date, the Romanian photographer appears to select subjects using a decidedly Western lens. Of the 55 women depicted from her “first journey,” which ran from August 2013 to November 2014, it’s likely that 48 could appear as models in the pages of a woman’s magazine – as long as it wasn’t BBW.

It’s unfortunate that Noroc seeks to celebrate the diversity in beauty, yet captures images that overwhelming depict young, thin women with symmetrical features, full lips, and large eyes. While not every subject’s shape is apparent, only two women appear to be plus-sized.

If Noroc receives crowdfunding for her “second journey,” one hopes her camera will find beauty in women of all sizes and all ages. While beauty can certainly be found in lithe young women, diversity of beauty comes from the laugh lines in the face of a woman reflecting a life well lived, from the generous bosom of a woman who has nourished her children, and from the quiver of a well-appreciated round belly.

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