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True story: We’re ALWAYS down for an around-the-world beauty photo series. It’s endlessly fascinating to see what’s considered aesthetically pleasing in all the odd corners of the Earth. That’s why we are so entranced by Romanian photog Mihaela Noroc’s Atlas of Beauty project.

Noroc’s mission is simple: criss-cross the planet, snap pics of the women she meets whom she finds beautiful, make a book out of all that beauty. She raised close to $40,000 through IndieGoGo for the book, and is currently trotting the globe, getting all her snaps together.

“Beauty means diversity and I travel the world to discover it,” Noroc asserts in her artist’s statement. ” From Western Europe to African Tribes, and from Rio de Janeiro to China, I try to capture, in my photos, natural and diverse faces.”

“In my opinion, beauty means to keep alive your origins and your culture,” she continues. “To be natural, sincere, authentic, particular, not necessar[il]y fashion[able] or skinny. . .My goal is to continue for many years and to study beauty in all countries of the globe, if possible, making this Atlas a project known around the world and an inspiration for all women that try to be themselves.”

It’s an ambitious mission statement and one we’re incredibly excited to see in action. Already, Noroc’s images of women around the globe have earned her over 75,000 followers on Instagram and counting. It’s also earned her a little bit of criticism.

Gabrielle Korn of Nylon points out that though the women featured are from all around the world, many of them bear a striking resemblance to one another.

“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.” In response to criticism about the age issue, Noroc wrote the following on Instagram: “Some people ask me why there are only young women in The Atlas of Beauty. The answer is simple. Because until now 99% of the project was made with my own small savings and I didn’t have enough time and funds to study all ages properly. So I chose one age: my own age. In the near future I hope I will raise decent funds to capture more diversity, in more countries because beauty is everywhere and has no age limit.”

We love this project and the images that have come out of it, and while we would love to see a wider range of ages and sizes in this kind of project, this is Noroc’s aesthetic and sensibility, and we have to respect that, because the shots that have come out of her series are stellar. We’ll just take this as a reminder that you can absolutely have criticisms and concerns re: what is lacking in a piece of art while still being able to appreciate what is there. Complicated views on art ARE allowed. We imagine that art wouldn’t have it any other way.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the globetrotting shots Noroc has been posting on her grand world tour.

To see all of these gorg snaps, follow Noroc on Instagram