This man is photographing women without make-up to challenge our beauty standards

Bethan McKernan@mck_beth
Tuesday 11 August 2015 15:00

Photographer Peter Freed has had a long and varied career, working with the New York Times, high-end magazines and shooting celebrities and models for book covers, movie posters and adverts.

But raising two daughters, he became aware of the pressure on young women to conform to airbrushed, unrealistic beauty standards. Freed told

I realised through my photography assignments how far from reality the representation of today's female status symbols has become. This was the impetus behind a change I gradually made in my technique.

Freed began to shoot his subjects in a more natural way, and a Harper's Bazaar shoot with several supermodels was the initial inspiration for a book that would redefine what it means for women to be in their 'prime'.

"I wanted to depict women in a positive authentic way. I chose to shoot in black and white in a fairly tight composition without any make-up, jewellery or retouching," he said.

In the years that followed since then Freed photographed women all over the US, ranging in age from 35 to 104, to show that women's value was not determined by whether they were deemed young and pretty enough to grace the covers of magazines. All of his subjects appear without make-up and are shot in intimate black and white portraits.

Most of the women he worked with are successful individuals, and they wrote accompanying essays talking about their personal milestones and professional achievements to go with the pictures.

Now their stories and portraits have been collected into a book called 'Prime', which reached its Kickstarter goal of $42,000 on Monday. Some proceeds from sales will be donated to charity Women in Need.

The women’s essays are filled with the challenges life has thrown them and the choices they have made... defying the conventions of how a woman, at any given age, should look, act and love. These women redefine what it means to be 'in your prime'.

Visit Prime's Kickstarter page here for more information.

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