A talk with Mihaela Noroc


Mihaela Noroc

“I owe everything I am today to these women. Each encounter taught me to be a better person, to see beauty everywhere, and in everything not just on the surface.

I always use natural light for my photos, trying to create a feeling of coziness, and to capture that magic moment when a woman opens up, so I can dive into her eyes and capture her inner beauty too”

 

All portraits are simple, light is natural, sometimes the background appears and gives the atmosphere of the place the person is living in, sometimes we find ourself face to face with a close up, background accurately blurried in a soft bokeh with a minimum depth of field.

All lie in the moment, as every street photography´s event happen : nothing can be set, sometimes catching a moment of break in the flow of people and time, sometimes few minutes to ask and get the eyes, the smile, the expression you have seen (or felt).

Sometimes Mihaela has the chance to get in deep touch with the women she met, sometimes not even had the chance to know their names, just an exchange of smile, a request , a positive answer with a silent nod. And many, many “no” during the long way.

 

“I´ve been refused by hundreds of women whose portraits I had hoped to take, and I saw how discrimination and society pressure weight on the shoulders of so many. […]

But I´m very grateful to all the women I met, whether they say yes or no to my proposal. Sometimes we spent a few seconds together, other times hours, but from each of them I learned something.”

The Atlas of Beauty” is a multilayered project and experience, surely for Mihaela, who said that is “the project of my life” and for us as well, as humans, as travellers, as wish-to-be travellers, as photographers, as artists.

I started following this project only when it becames known on the web, but since then I never stopped.

The idea of meeting people all over the world, women in this case, the idea of creating an Atlas of Beauty made of people and stories so different made me thinking that the real Beauty here is that Diversity that Mihaela has got with her sensibility and her camera.

And she is part of that Beauty, with her open heart, her vibrant energy, her sparkling enthusiasm for what she did and still doing.

I had the chance to talk with her here in Berlin, at the opening day of the exhibition “The Atlas of Beauty”, organized by “Gesellschaft für humanistische Fotografie” in the space of “F3 – Freiraum für Fotografie”.

I arrived there pretty early, in Berlin was already dark, i´ve seen Mihaela talking with Katharina Mouratidi, artistic director of the organization which promoted the exhibition.

Both were very kind, I asked the day before for the interview and there I was, sitting on a confortable couch with Mihaela smiling, her beautiful pictures surrounding us.

Me :          Nice to meet you, Mihaela, it´s really a pleasure, thanks for having me here. I´ve got to know you and your project last year and as soon as I know you were coming to Berlin, I started planning to meet you and talk to you…

Mihaela : so do you live here?

Me :          Yes, I live in Berlin….

Mihaela : Which is a great place!

Me :        Yeah, it is a nice place, especially for photography lovers! A question that burns in me and probably in others a lot : how did you get in contact with all these women and did you manage to portrait them?

Mihaela : Oh, it´s easy! Mostly i got them on the streets…Whenever went to one city, i posted on my facebook page, targeting the country and asking people for informations about places where I can go, where are the crowed areas…I need to go in very crowed places! And walking from three to five hours every day, letting myself being open and impressed. Whenever somebody pass me by i am interested with, i go and ask. Also because of these messages in Facebook or through these posts on Facebook i received messages from people who wanted to be part in my Project…You see, I have some firefighters from Mexico, so somebody from the firefighter company wrote me and ask if I wanted to come. Of course, I like to go on the street, it´s very personal what´s going on there…Now I am not working, I didn´t make pictures since two months, and my life is like this (she made a straight movement with her hand, to draw a plain, quite life) but when I am working on the street for the project my life is like that! (she moved her hand drawing curves up and down, like a rollercostear).  And when(then) you have a picture that is amazing and everything comes together, because Street Photography for me is about the right person on the right light, in the right moment on the right background, so it´s like the whole universe is going to cospire for the picture to exist!

Me :            There are different situation in your pictures, on the street as you said, in private houses, shops, which kind of connection did you have with the people you´ve met, there were differences in your approach to them?

Mihaela :   There is a difference, the thing is you to have the permission from that person, because i am a stranger for her, she´s going to see me for few second and having an impression about me…if she accept me, then i know it will be amazing…i always tried to make a picture that has something special…I have so many “pictures” that don´t exist but in my head, because they said no, but I have the image in my mind, the meeting with them. But what happen between two women when they stay together, is going to form a small connection, sometimes we got friends, it was an exchange of energy… i am still in contact with a lot of them.

Me :             And how did you solve the communication problems with people talking so many different languages?

Mihaela :   I have skills in five languages, english anyway let me got by in a lot of countries, same with spanish. Of course in asian countries I had more problems, sometimes I had somebody who helped me with translation…This is also the reason why I couldn´t have informations about the people in all the pictures, I just have the pictures.

Me:               We are living in a very difficult period, maybe everybody say so about her/his own present, there is a diffuse lack of trust, a feeling of danger and fear, how do you see your project in this world we´re living in, it seems to me that there is a political message, or at least a humanistic message…

Mihaela :     It is a human message, yes. Politicians sometimes use human nature for their own purpose. In some countries is difficult, people are going to say “no”, maybe because they are scared, because they don´t trust me, I am a foreigner, they think “maybe she is not who she says she is”…In South America I was refused a lot, because they were scared to be kidnapped…you see, social and political (environment) changed a lot my work, in some countries i asked ten people and only one said “yes”, Europe is easier, is safer, well we have some down sides but mostly is safer than other places. In some countries there is a social pressure, women would like to say “yes” but they are not going to do it because of the father, the husband, the brother…

“Beauty, as I can see, can teach us tolerance, honesty and kindness, and our world needs these values more than ever”

Me :              That brings me to the next question, you´re a woman who took pictures of women all over the world, what do you think about the woman situation, we are talking a lot about it, and what do you think your work can do about it?

Mihaela :      It´s a good question, I tell you why. Before i started travelling the world i was born and i lived in Moldova. I always say that probably the only thing the Communist did right, because didn´t like it, it was very difficult for us, but the only thing it was that men and women were equal, growing up I never considered myself lower than my male collegues…When i started travelling, i found than the world is an extremely unfair place for women, they have always to take care of children, make a lot of sacrifices, violence against women is huge, you see there is (a picture of) an iranian woman who survived an acid attack…Before starting this project I dind´t know that women have to go through so many struggles…Now my work changed a lot, I am focusing more and more on these issues, I have more than one million of follower in facebook and i am very happy to make a social problem visible and things that people can change in their own countries.

“When I say “Beauty” I mean more than the beauty that we often see today, which is usually about sexual attractiveness, in the service of selling something. […] 

I think that beauty is about being yourself, natural and authentic, abaout letting people see what is inside you. Today is not always easy to do that, because there is so much pressure on women to look and behave in a certain way. […] 

In the end, each woman should be free to decide how to present herself and to explore her own beauty without feeling pressure from the outside world”

Me :                 What were you doing before and how came to you this big change and this project?

Mihaela :         Actually I started with photography when I was 16, my father gave me my first camera, I went to University of Arts in Bucarest, but I didn´t get much encouragement from my teachers, so I decided to give up Photography and I didn´t touch my camera for 7 years. I was working in TV production, casting, kind of things I didn´t like, i was very unhappy, not good…The thing the got me out of it, that makes me happy was travelling…

“In 2013 a trip to Ethiopia changed my perspective. I brought along my camera, like any other tourist. Right away i was fascinated by the women I saw during this vacation. Most of them were struggling and working hard sometimes facing discrimination as women. But in these harsh environments, they were shining like stars, with dignity, strenght and beauty.”

And when you travel, you get curious, I started to feel more confident to take my camera, not as a photographer necessarly, but as a person…I put too much pressure on this “photography thing”, you know? I tooks a long time before I started to introduce myself as a photographer, i didn´t feel confident enough…And I still don’t like this word!

Me :                   And what´s next for you?

Mihaela :         I am going to do this project for the rest of my life! This is my life-project, i am getting better, now I know what I want, how to get better pictures, I don´t have so much experience, this project taught me a lot of things!

 “We shouldn´t build walls between us, based on gender, ethnicity, color, sexual orientation or religion, but find paths that connect us to work together – women and men – and make this world a better place.  I hope this book will be one of these paths.”

Mihaela Noroc

The exhibition in Berlin goes until the 21 January 2018 at the F3 – Freiraum für Fotografie, don´t miss it.

If you want to buy the book and support Mihaela Noroc and her project, visit the website The Atlas of Beauty.

I´ll see you around!

 

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“The Atlas of Beauty” in Berlin

Yesterday finally i had the chance to meet Mihaela Noroc, the artist behind the worldwide known project “The Atlas of Beauty“.

The book is in my hand, and also a nice interview with her, thanks the artist for the patience and Katharina Mouratidi, artistic director of Gesellschaft für Humanistische Fotografie for letting me meeting Mihaela before the crowd came in!

IMG_3241

I talk to her, i´ve seen her work exposed at “F3-Freiraum für fotografie“, a great gallery in the heart of Berlin Kreuzberg.

The exhibition was beautifully organised, the crew of F3 and “Gesellschaft für Humanistische Fotografie” have made a really enjoyable event and let the large audience to get in touch with the artist and her work in a cosy atmosphere.

Here a couple of picture of the nice evening, tomorrow i will publish the interview!

Keep in touch and go to the exhibition, photos and stories are breathtaking!

Freiraum für Fotografie, Waldemarstraße 17, 10179 Berlin, Germany

 

 

Naked in the rain

 

I am following some contemporary dance classes lately, where i realise once more how deep goes my creativity when connection through feelings and to body is made, when i let the body speaks and your mind follow, for a change…

I didn’t´t give myself any assignment in the last months, so for today : because i woke up with a catchy-tune, i´ll go out there, in the rain, get pictures, get again into the flow, enjoy the city alone with some music!

“Listen to the talking heart in my chest…” (Red Hot Chilly Peppers, Naked in the Rain)

(The catchy-tunes was actually “Under the bridge”, very inspiring!)

Naked in the rain

Go see an exhibition to get inspired…and empowered!

Berlin got finally her coat of clouds, in her cool grey shade. Nice time to get out with a friend and get to an photoexhibition…i love to do that, i love the cosy atmosphere in some places here and usually i get to see great artist´s works in the real world, instead of fooling around on the web, which is fine, but…

Well, i went to C/O, one of the best place in Berlin where to enjoy photo culture, new artists, master of all times in their original printed masterpieces expose at the best, with care and meaningfull way.

The current exhibition is dope : Danny Lyon (ICP New York) and Willi Ruge (Moma Object Photo)

Danny Lyon C_O Berlin

Copyright Andrea Linss Berlin

Danny Lyon got my heart.

Every picture it was a mistery to discover, a little story covered in layers to be pealed off and get to the core, a travel into the history of Usa from the eyes of those who were not feeling part of that american dream.

A jump into the word of Kerouac in form black and white images, an inside trip into subcultures, a hard critic against segregation and violence, from a man who decide to be a part of its rebellion, with a camera in his hands.

(all following photos by Danny Lyon)

I could not suggest a better way to get inspired than visiting this exhibition (or search for Danny Lyon wherever you live) and let the heart and engagement of this man going through your veins, the consequential way of linking the morality of his work, the intuition of his sight to focus the lens always in that moment where things get hard to swallow and still worth to be seeing.

Without any exploitation.

With his word :

“There are time when i wonder if i am making a record of the past or if i’ve come to see  the future”
(Danny Lyon)

Danny Lyon and Mohammed Ali

Refugees Asyl Strike Berlin

 

Flyer Refugees' Demo 23.03.2013
Flyer Refugees’ Demo 23.03.2013

 

“Nation-wide mobilization more and more successful!
5000 at Refugees‘Revolution demo!

„The Refugees‘ Revolution demonstration of 23.03.2013 with over 5000 participants again sets a strong signal against our exclusion, isolation and inhumane living conditions. It is an unequivocal rejection of a government policy of ignorance, repression and blockade against our claims and actions.
Another major success of the r efugee-protestslies in the ever-growing participation of the self-organizing fugitives from many cities throughout Germany who followed our call(including Frankfurt / Main, Leipzig, Hamburg, Hannover, Braunschweig, Wolfsburg, Magdeburg, Passau, Regensburg, Würzburg, Nuremberg Bayreuth, Halberstadt, Bitterfeld, Halle, Munich, Karlsruhe, Stuttgart, Cologne, Bremen, Deutschland, Rostock and Kiel). No repression by state authorities against the one year long refugee-protests, no police attacks against the Refufgees Revolution Bus Tour could stop us. Neither denied leave passes through immigration authorities nor police checks during the journey to yesterday’s demonstration with temporary detentions took effect.
And we are more and more every day. We have come to stay!
Our thanks goes out to all refugees, supporters and donaters who help us in our fight! “

We state:
The deterrence and threat of the prevailing policy is collapsing more and more. Our many protests and the bus tour for information and mobilization are having an enormous effect. More and more refugees join the protest and take the fight for their rights into their own hands.
More than ever fugitive in Germany break out of the physical and mental prison from their camps and overcome the limitations imposed on us by the Residenzpflicht. And that – in spite of the threat of punishment by local immigration authorities and Lager managements.
From all conflicts we have always emerged stronger and with more solidarity! The circle of supporters of our demands is growing steadily.
For a year now we are present and visible in the public – massive and diverse ! We are no longer to ignore, isolate and hide!
Under the most extreme conditions – state repression and isolation, our own traumatic past, precarious financial conditions, the cold, lack of medical care, the lack of planning any safe and future-oriented everyday life, but also language barriers and many substantive differences amongst us – we build up ourselves again and again and confront us to the conditions in solidarity. We continue to gain strength and endurance – every day!
We repeat and renew our demands:
Abolition of Residenzpflicht nationwide!
Closure of all refugee camps! Free choice of place of residence in the cities! Affordable housing for all!
Stop the deportations! No tolerance of Duldung!
Equal rights and self-determined participation in all social life! These include: work permit, voluntary and free language courses, health care and participation in all political decisions!

We will not leave until our demands are met!

No one is illegal! Everyone will stay! Abolition of Dublin II and Frontex! Tear down all borders! Abolish racist and exluding laws!”

Refugees Bus Tour

From:

http://refugeesrevolution.blogsport.de/

Have a look here for infos :

http://asylstrikeberlin.wordpress.com/

Gema Stoppt!

From “The Local”, German magazine in English

(Picture is mine)

Demonstrations have been organized outside GEMA’s offices in several major cities, including Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Stuttgart, Nuremberg, Leipzig and Dresden.

Organizers, including the Clubcommission network of Berlin nightclubs, say that GEMA’s new tariffs, set to take effect on April 1, 2013, require a payment of 10 percent of a club’s income – calculated by a co-efficient of the entrance fee and the area of the club.

By the Clubcommission’s calculations, that means a small club of 120 square metres with an entrance fee of €6, currently paying GEMA €45 per event, will have to pay €270 per event by the new system. This, it says, is a crippling hike likely to force several clubs to close.

Opponents also have a fundamental complaint against the royalty organization. It says GEMA’s pay-out structure disadvantages club DJs and composers of electronic dance music, because most royalties are paid out on recorded music.

As result, protesters say the system is skewed in favour of major artists.

“At the moment 65 percent of GEMA payments go to five percent of its members,” said a Clubcommission statement made last week. “In 2010, GEMA spent about €127 million on its own administration with more than 1,000 employees, which is collecting money like a state authority.”

In response to the demonstrations, GEMA apparently sent an email to its members, regretting that “because of the constitutionally guaranteed right to assembly,” it wasn’t able to prevent the protest taking place, even though “the organizers are working with false and polemic accusations.”

GEMA claims that 60 percent of events will get cheaper, and hikes will effect only 3,000 clubs across the country, which it said was a “minority.”

Walkabout

Walkabout is a rite of passage, a spiritual journey.

Far from the sacrifice and the challenge, i prefere the bright side of the meaning : a journey, a heart map of meetings, experiences, memories…Sure a rite of passage which brought me to another awerness.

Everytime!

And each time was a choise i’ve made, after dreaming for a long time to work with theatre and travelling.

Always with my camera, fighting with my fear of forgetting!

Hope you will enjoy this heart map, made by pictures and diary pages of theatre projects!