The Portrait of Dreams

Mihaela Noroc

There is a force, that I’ve felt since I was small, that has driven me to travel the world. To reveal the many faces of beauty, to open up new perspectives.

1. Bio

A photographer of Romanian origins, she has photographed women in more than a hundred countries. She began when she was 16, when she was given her first camera by her father. She also studied photography at university, but soon realised that her narrative needs went beyond the pure logic of aesthetics or commerce. She found her own dimension during a trip to Ethiopia in 2013, where a fortuitous encounter paved the way to a quest that would lead to the birth of her “The Atlas of Beauty” project.

2. The power of a dream

I overcame my limitations to answer the call of real beauty. I’m a timid person, yet I’ve travelled the world to seek it. Not just aesthetics, but the fascinating aura of every woman when she expresses her true nature, her talent, her dreams. My portraits are intended as a hymn to self-awareness and self-empowerment. This aim has taken me back to the instinctive attitude I had as a child: to capture personalities. Not buildings, landscapes, sunsets or things. And this is where my dream brought me, after a period of sadness in which I’d been trying to ignore it. But you can’t stop a dream.

3. My journey into real beauty

My photographs are my legacy and my great journey into inner beauty: a force that takes me out of my comfort zone and drives me to stop a stranger to ask her to pose for me. My camera is the instrument through which my soul is formed, although at one time I’d abandoned it. Then in an instant, on a journey, beauty struck me with such impact that I had to take up my camera. An Ethiopian woman, cleaning her teeth with a straw, raised her eyes towards me. It was a shock to realise what beauty can look like: so proud, savage, powerful and assured, even in the last gesture that I’d have expected to find it. That was the moment when I recognised and rediscovered my dream and, from that instant, everything in my life regained its meaning.

4. What I learned and won’t let go

Diversity is beauty, and in my work I want to make it visible to those who see it today, to those who will see it in the future. This is why I have a rule when I’m out with my camera: whatever idea or suggestion the woman before me may make, I say OK. It’s her “whatever she wants” moment. It’s a moment of trust, of freedom to choose, to show passion. It’s a safe space, with no boundaries and no judgement. It’s a space where beauty blooms from within and is externalised. And this is my dream for all women: an everyday world in which to feel safe and legitimised to pursue, recognise and express their own beauty.

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