Peter Freed, who has shot portraits for editorial and commercial clients since the 1980s, began a personal project in 2010 to challenge the assumptions about how women age. Called “Prime,” the project includes Freed’s portraits of more than 130 women, ranging in age from 35 to 104. All are photographed without makeup or jewelry—”just the landscape of the face,” Freed says in a video he created for a Kickstarter campaign that raised $42,640 to turn the project into a book. In addition to the photographs, the project includes essays by each of the subjects about what it means to them to be a woman in her prime.
Freed tells PDN that the idea for the project came from an image he saw of five top models who were photographed without makeup or styling. He says he was also inspired by Dove beauty products commercials “that emphasized natural bodies and the negative influence of manipulated images of beauty.” Freed says his first subjects were friends and friends-of-friends from in and around Dobbs Ferry, New York, where he lives. It quickly expanded by word of mouth. “That created a chain of connections that went around the globe,” he says. “The beauty of this organic process is that the women in Prime are inextricably linked.”