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(Huffington Post) Photographer Mihaela Noroc is on a mission to document diverse beauty by photographing women in every country of the world. Last month, that odyssey took her to North Korea.|
"When entering North Korea you step in a different world," Noroc wrote in a description of the series for The WorldPost. "You already know that you will see huge monuments, statues and communist celebrations but you almost know nothing about North Korean women."
Noroc, 30, quit her job in Romania to work on the "The Atlas of Beauty" photography project, which has taken her to dozens of countries, from Ethiopia to Iran.
"Beauty is everywhere, and it’s not a matter of cosmetics, money, race or social status, but more about being yourself," she writes.
Because authorities closely monitor travel around North Korea, Noroc was accompanied by guides and only allowed to visit to certain locations. Even so, she was able to go to four different cities and photograph women in factories, universities, parks and subway stations. She was surprised to find that most women were happy to be photographed.
"Women of North Korea are not familiar with global trends but this doesn't mean that they are not preoccupied by their looks," she writes. "They have a passion for high heels and usually wear classic outfits, always accompanied by a pin, on the chest, representing the country's former leaders."
"During celebrations and other special occasions they wear traditional colorful outfits," Noroc added. "Even the lady that presents the TV news wears this kind of clothes every evening."
See Noroc's portraits from North Korea, along with her descriptions of them, below.