I have five tabs open on my computer right now: One of them is WordPress, so I can type this article for my many, many fans out there (thanks for reading Mom and Dad!), while three of them are my different social media pages and the last open tab is Sephora so I can put the new Naked eyeshadow palette in my online shopping cart and get it here in 2 days with priority shipping because my other open tab just Insta-convinced me that my eyelids will not make it through the fall season without the coverage of these essential new colors.

We are surrounded by an obsession with beauty, for better or worse. When I scroll through Instagram, Kylie Jenner is there confirming my insecurity that my hair does not grow quickly enough and also lacks the necessary bounce and shine but that the bottle they are taking a selfie with can fix all of those problems. Lena Dunham is also there with her shameless selfies to remind me that my hair does not need any certain amount of bounce or shine for me to be beautiful. Likewise, Facebook is a whirlwind of vicious ads establishing beauty standards and body positivity articles attempting to dismantle those standards. My point is, whether you are keeping up with the Kardashians or with Hilary Clinton, fairly concrete ideas about beauty usually find a way to slip into your life.

I recently stumbled across something unique-  a photo gallery posted by CNN – and I was captivated by what I saw.   Noticing this world revolving around all of the different ideas of beauty, Romanian photographer Mihaela Noroc developed her own.

“Beauty means diversity, and I travel the world to discover it.”

Noroc opposes the idea that beauty exists only on high-fashion runways, unretouched photoshoots, Crossfit gyms or body positivity campaigns. Noroc’s idea is that beauty does not come from any of these current fashion trends or anti-fashion movements but instead comes from each person’s cultural roots and keeping those origins alive.

To illustrate the beauty that lies in cultural pride and diversity, Mihaela lives to travel the world and document “sincere, authentic” women from various countries and backgrounds.

atlas of beauty pic

Noroc has taken photographs for her Atlas in over 30 countries and is planning many more trips to pursue what she considers to be her life’s work. She uses her savings to travel, and also relies on small financial contributions from followers and supporters. All of the true beauty she has documented is on her website, and so is the link to make a donation towards The Atlas of Beauty.