Hidden beauties of North Korea captured in rare pictures

PHOTO: Mihaela Noroc

As the saying goes, a picture speaks a thousand words and that's what Mihaela Noroc's pictures have done in showing a different side of North Korea.

While the world is intrigued by large monuments and the secrecy of the country, many know close to nothing about the women living there.

To give the world a deeper insight to North Korean women, the 30-year-old Romanian photographer was on a mission to document a lesser-known aspect of their beauty. This was part of her photo series 'The Atlas of Beauty', which captures the portraits of women all over the world.

Noroc, who has gained recognition for her series on publications like The Huffington Post and The Telegraph, gave up her job two years ago and travelled around the world to "photograph natural women surrounded by their environment".

North Korea was Noroc's last destination in the project.

As compared to neighbouring South Korea which is filled with women who undergo plastic surgery, North Korean women "live in a different world" according to Noroc.

She said: "Women of North Korea are not familiar with global trends but this doesn't mean that they are not preoccupied by their look. They are, definitely! They have a passion for high heels and usually wear classic outfits, always accompanied by a pin, on the chest, representing one of the country's leaders."

While Noroc was prepared for difficulties in photographing her subjects, she discovered that North Korean women were in fact open and agreed to be captured on camera.

In North Korea, Noroc explored different environments, from factories or universities to public areas like big boulevards, parks or subway stations and in her own words, found that "beauty is indeed everywhere".

"After I photographed women from dozens of countries I can say that beauty is everywhere, and it’s not a matter of cosmetics, money, race or social status, but more about being yourself.

"My goal is to continue and take photos of women from each country of the globe, making 'The Atlas Of Beauty' a mirror of our diverse societies and an inspiration for people that try to remain authentic," she said.

stephluo@sph.com.sg

Mihaela Noroc can be reached at her Facebook page or Instagram. Visit www.theatlasofbeauty.com to know more about the series.

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