Beauty—the external kind—is defined differently all around the world. At least, that’s what Romanian photographer Mihaela Noroc set out to prove in her photo series, The Atlas Of Beauty, in which she travels to different countries snapping portraits of women she finds beautiful. It’s an inspiring idea, and seeing the faces of women from far away lands is definitely moving—especially noticing the striking differences in their makeup, hair, clothes, and the settings that they’re shot in.
The portraits are beautifully composed; Noroc is a very talented photographer, and to be fair I looked through her entire Instagram account before writing this. But it’s also worth noting that while there are differences in how the women style themselves, all the images are eerily similar. The subjects are in the same young age range, they’re all thin, they all have symmetric, luminous faces.
While the photographer’s mission is to point out beauty in other cultures, she’s the one choosing her subjects. And as a result, they all adhere to a single standard of beauty: One that’s inescapably based upon the photographer’s personal opinion.
The issue with the series isn’t its contents but its packaging. What changes in these photos isn’t beauty standards, but fashion—and despite global trends, what makes something fashionable definitely changes from culture to culture. If the message is that this specific kind of Western-approved beauty can be found regardless of economic and social status, it’s a very successful project. But saying that the photos show different interpretations of beauty just feels, well, off. (via Elle.com)