Photographer puts delicate beauty of North Korean women into spotlight

© Mihaela Noroc (www.facebook.com/toTheAtlas, www.instagram.com/mihaelanoroc)
Looking for a change in life, a photographer from Romania turned her life upside down by starting a photo series of women from different parts of the world. She has visited more than 37 countries, but North Korea turned out to be a very special place.

Sick of her ordinary life, Mihaela Noroc quit her boring job and decided to go into photography full-time. She dared to stake everything she had in life when she was on holiday abroad. 

© Mihaela Noroc (www.facebook.com/toTheAtlas, www.instagram.com/mihaelanoroc)

In less than two years, she has visited around 37 countries and has no intention of stopping. She knew that North Korea was a unique place, but it completely exceeded all of her most daring expectations. 

© Mihaela Noroc (www.facebook.com/toTheAtlas, www.instagram.com/mihaelanoroc)

This is the first photo project focused exclusively on North Korean women, Noroc claims, and she totally nails it. “When entering North Korea you step in a different world… That’s why I decided to explore and photograph this subject, something mostly unknown for the rest of the world,” she said.

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© Mihaela Noroc (www.facebook.com/toTheAtlas, www.instagram.com/mihaelanoroc)

Beauty is diversity – that’s why the photoshoot features women of different age, status and profession. Noroc found her models at bus stops and beaches, in the parks, cafes, museums – wherever her feet took her (of course with some limitations, don’t forget she was in North Korea). 

© Mihaela Noroc (www.facebook.com/toTheAtlas, www.instagram.com/mihaelanoroc)

Since North Korean society is very closed, sometimes it wasn’t that easy to talk women into taking part in the project. For some, it was the first time talking to a foreigner. 

© Mihaela Noroc (www.facebook.com/toTheAtlas, www.instagram.com/mihaelanoroc)

Despite the country’s isolation, women still pay a lot of attention to their appearance there. Women don bright and colorful traditional clothes on every special occasion and celebration. And here things get even more interesting – female TV announcers in North Korea wear these costumes literally every evening.

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© Mihaela Noroc (www.facebook.com/toTheAtlas, www.instagram.com/mihaelanoroc)

It may sound strange – and not so conservative – but North Korean women are big fans of high heels. 

© Mihaela Noroc (www.facebook.com/toTheAtlas, www.instagram.com/mihaelanoroc)

“We shouldn’t lose our cultures, traditions, and origins because these make us different and beautiful,” says the traveling photographer.

© Mihaela Noroc (www.facebook.com/toTheAtlas, www.instagram.com/mihaelanoroc)

Another – and a bit more political – fashion trend is to wear a pins bearing the images of the country's leaders. 

© Mihaela Noroc (www.facebook.com/toTheAtlas, www.instagram.com/mihaelanoroc)

“While neighboring South Korea has the world’s highest rate of cosmetic plastic surgeries, North Korean women live in a different world,” she stressed.

© Mihaela Noroc (www.facebook.com/toTheAtlas, www.instagram.com/mihaelanoroc)

The ultimate goal of the project is to prove that beauty is all around. Noroc also hopes to provide unity through diversity.