Remember the article I wrote in January about Mihaela Noroc? She went on a trip around the world to look for beauty. And she found it! A few days ago I got in touch with her on Facebook and asked her a few questions because I’m curious about what drives her forward on her journey.
How did you come up with this idea? To leave home, find and photograph beauty around the world?
Me and my husband spent almost all of our savings on traveling. In all our trips, I was shooting travel photography, focusing especially on women. Two years ago I discovered the most beautiful women I have ever seen in Ethiopia. That’s when I figured I can combine the two, travel photography and women portraits, and that’s how BAW was born.
How long did it take you to leave, since you got the idea?
After I got the idea, in less than 6 months we were on the road. Me and my husband decided we were going to spend all of our savings on traveling. At first, BAW was just something I was doing while traveling. Meanwhile I realised that I love this project and I want the whole world to know about it, so I started to work really hard on it and think about how can I drive it forward.
How about the visas and the budget?
Before we left, we only got visas for Russia, China and the United States. We got the other ones along the way. We raised the money after a few years of hard work, there were times when we worked even on Sundays, so after all those sacrifices, we figured we would spend it on the thing we like most: traveling.
For how long have you been away? When do you plan on coming back to Romania?
We left in august 2013. We’ll be running out of money shortly, so a few days ago we started a little fundraising campaign, hoping to continue our journey of searching beauty throughout America until december.
But BAW doesn’t end with us coming back to Romania. This is just the first episode.
If I find any partners willing to support my project, BAW will go on for many years to come. It takes years and a lot of traveling to create the “beauty atlas” that I dream about. I hope to reveal as many world cultures and traditions through the faces I photograph and make this independent romanian project a worldwide known project.
For me, women are better at holding on to traditions than men, because they are mothers, and socially, they’re more connected to their homes, their birthplaces. That’s why I chose to photograph women and capture the diverse world we are living in.
I’m not looking for a specific type of woman or take into account the fashion standards. I’m searching for natural beauty, which tells a story about the area it comes from.
What places or things shocked you the most along the way?
I haven’t had major cultural shocks, because I’ve seen almost all continents in previous trips. I would talk about nice surprises rather. I was very pleasantly surprised about the warmth and openness of the people in Iran, which helped me a lot with my project. An interesting detail is that the majority of people who liked my facebook page, after romanians, is from Iran, even though Facebook is forbidden there and they access it using special software.
I was also pleasantly surprised by the incredible generosity of the poor people in Myanmar, which were always willing to share with others the little that they had.
Another surprise for me was the honesty of russians, the brazilians’ lust for life, or the traditionalism of an otherwise modern society like Japan’s. The things that bothered me the most were the heavy pollution in China, the poverty in which many people from Chile live in (a country that is presented in the media as being one of the most developed countries in the world), or the reluctancy of the japanese to help me with my project.
Mihaela is the kind of adventurer who deserves all of our respect and help. If you want to donate (even a small amount), you can do it here.
Here are some of the pictures she took on her journey to find beauty.