Individuals of all economic strata are shedding their jobs, hometowns, and lifestyle to embrace a wider experience and a more meaningful existence.
Natalia Ivanova, born in Brest, Belarus in 1983 is a Russian photographer and photo-journalist. She has also lived in Moscow and in Germany before moving to Paris where she currently resides.
She graduated from Moscow State University of International Relations (MGIMO) and the Paris Professional Photography Institute (SPEOS) where her specialization was in Photo-Journalism. In 2012 she became a special photo-correspondent in France for the Russian news agency ITAR-TASS.
Natalia enjoys a open range of creative interests in her professional life. As a press photographer she collaborates with Russian and international media and with television channels such as ROSSIYA 1 and TNT among others.
She has taken part in a variety of television projects ranging from entertainment like The Bachelor, Russia's next Top Model with Irina Shayk and others to historical and documentary works such as the project about the Russian Expeditionary Force in France from 1916-1918 for the Russian channel ROSSIYA 1 and others.
Artistic photography plays an important part in her life as well as photojournalism. In November of 2010, Natalia debuted her art photography work at the Pierre Cardin Theatre during the premiere of the documentary film Images of Women or the Social Corset (Images de femmes ou le corset social) by French film-director Jean-François Ferrillon.
Natalia presented her own photo-interpretation of the documentary's theme, which was used as a cinema poster for the film. Since then, much of her time has been spent with both documentary and artistic subjects.
These days Natalia is focusing on an original project called The Ethnic Origins of Beauty which in her own words - "she is able to realize herself fully as an art photographer, a journalist and a human".
The scope and seriousness of the project risks turning it into a creation which could well take the rest of her entire life - but this does not frighten her, because Natalia thinks it important to realise and to have people fully understand the idea of interethnic equality and tolerance, no matter how much time and effort it may take her.
The Ethnic Origins of Beauty (Les origines de la beaute) is a non-profit, artistic, documentary and research project about the ethnic diversity of mankind, presented through the beauty of the women of all the ethnic groups of the world.
It is a womans approach to the division and brutality created by dominate patriarchal rule throughout history. It is one womans attempt to have human beings understand what they have in common in order to stop the violence among peoples because of their percieved differences.
The objective of her project is to show the real scale of ethno-cultural diversity using a full, systematic, dramatic and creative way. To illustrate each and every distinctive ethnicity, however small it may be, and whatever its official status is.
"I have always been interested in the problem of ethnic identity in the modern world - especially because the country where I was born and raised is a very multi-ethnic." she explains.
"Even though all inhabitants in Russia are all Russians - citizens of their country, there are also more than 90 different indigenous cultures, languages, and other identities in addition."
"They deserve no less interest, respect and equality than a Russian."
The Ethnic Origins of Beauty is a way to draw attention to all the ethnicities, regardless of the size of their population or their official status - a way to show that each ethnic group has its own unique beauty, which not only requires, but deserves equal attention, respect and protection.
Natalia thought about this project for years and how to best accomplish it. When you view the videos and photos of the girls of different ethnic backgrounds she found you'll fully understand how the project caught the attention of UNESCO.
The project The Ethnic Origins of Beauty received the acknowledgment of UNESCO and was first officially presented at an exhibition devoted to International Women's Day in March of 2014, at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France.
It is the ethnicities put at the base of the project, rather than their states, to show a picture of human diversity vividly - one which we do not see when focusing only at racial or national typologies that are characteristic of most international competitions or other events.
Limiting only by civil affiliation, 90% of existing peoples stay invisible, because they are not presented as independent countries.
In order to reach the hearts of the wider international and multicultural public audience, the language of beauty has been chosen.
Every single ethnic group in the project will be represented by three young and bright girls using three photo-portraits as well as three video interviews plus an informational note on each ethnic group represented.
The candidate girl representatives are chosen by the following criteria:
- 18-30 years old
- belonging to one ethnic group for at least three generations
- beautiful face / natural beauty
- awareness of personal ethnic origins
EDUCATION - give a full and clear picture of the existing ethnicities - besides ethnological, allow the opportunity to fill up the geographical, cultural, social and other knowledge, to allow people to expand their common outlook and to go beyond stereotypes.
PEACE - to contribute to the harmonization and strengthening of tolerance in inter-ethnic relations through searching for beauty in all people, through equal attention to every ethnicity with respect for the particularities of each other so as to encourage intercultural dialogue.
HERITAGE - to contribute to the heritage of mankind by creating a universal multimedia and interactive collection of the ethnic diversity of humanity at the beginning of the 21st century.
Additionally publications on the internet are planned, broadcasts on television, exhibitions, publication of books, DVD's and other media.
The project was launched in 2012, but is only in the initial stages of its realisation, and constantly in need of assistance. Natalia welcomes any form of support, cooperation or partnership. See More Here
Natalia recruits her subjects in various ways - through working with universities, scouring social media, but also by asking candidate women to submit make-up free snapshots of themselves with a brief introductory video.
"We are selecting the participants of our project very carefully." she says. "We try to find beautiful faces but also faces that are typical for each culture to show the glory of diversity."
It may seem likely that most of these women are professional models, but she insists otherwise.
"Many model candidates were rejected after our photo and video castings." she says. "We don't need just a pretty face, but also a girl who possesses good ethnic awareness, a knowledge about one's own people, and also a charismatic personality."
Girls interested in participating should be bright representatives of their nationality, belonging to a single ethnic group of at least 3 generations, and be between 18-30 years of age. Although Natalia and her team are based in Paris, she says that they are willing to travel "all over the world" to find participants. Click Here to directly apply to participate in Les Origines de la Beaute: The Ethnic Origins of Beauty.
To date, she has been able to shoot around 90 photo and video sessions representative of more than 50 ethnic groups from 15 countries on 4 continents.
This remarkable project, initiated a few years ago by Russian photographer and photojournalist, Natalia Ivanova, shows the ethnic diversity around the world in such a compelling manner that it is exceedingly impressive.
It brings home an important message in times like the world is experiencing at the moment that there is not only beauty in this strife-ridden world, but also that we all are really not all that different. That if we would begin to better see how we are alike and not focus so much on our differences that we could possibly live more harmoniously.
Natalia's project will develop and grow over time by constantly adding more photos and videos of ethnic faces to its database. The girls are selected from the various ethnic backgrounds will be a part of a collection documenting the living human race as it exists today. The pictures and video's are regularly released on social media at Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Vk, Flickr and YouTube.
What is of note is that for many people in the past who would never have had the opportunity to see people of such diverse ethnicity, todays modern technology offers present and future generations a means to preserve a snapshot of the appearance of examples of living ethnic groups.
Visit The Ethnic Origins of Beauty website and see this remarkable project from the URL below
The DVD at Amazon of the French film Images of Women or the Social Corset by the films director, Jean-François Ferrillon, at the Espace Pierre Cardin - the exposition of Natalia Ivanova's photography for the film's cinema posters.
Yabanci is a book by a Dutch woman who moved from Holland to Turkey to start a new life in a Turkish village overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. A great read for those who are considering a move abroad or have lived in a different culture. Available in English as an ebook or in Dutch in both print and popular ebook formats...
take a look