DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. -- Peter Freed, a longtime celebrity photographer, has shot many beautiful women over the years, including a host of famous actresses and models, but admits its "real women" that he finds most intriguing.
So much so, in fact, that this Dobbs Ferry resident has spent the last four years working on a book that profiles women of all ages -- from 35 to 104 – photographing them in striking black and white.
All of the photos (none of which are retouched) are shot of women without makeup in their natural state and sit on the page opposite essays dealing with aging and life lessons.
"It's about redefining what it means to be in the prime of your life, whatever that means," he said of his book, appropriately called PRIME.
The project -- which totaled 120 portraits (he's whittled it down to 65 for the book) -- is now part of a kickstarter campagin, begun earlier this week, to get the book to press.
Freed said he needs $42,000 to pay for printing, distribution and the designer (he's not taking a salary). Already, he's sent out more than a thousand emails.
The father of two young adult daughters admits he was inspired by the Dove commercial years ago of women showing off their natural beauty. He had hoped to go the traditional publishing route but found everyone wanted a celebrity-themed book.
And while there are no shortage of famous faces within PRIME's pages, among them NBC's Natalie Morales, model Christy Turlington and author (and Rye resident) Lee Woodruff, he was firm that his book be focused on regular women and their stories.
"Who knew these women would be such amazing storytellers?" he said. "A lot of the essays brought me to tears, while others made me laugh, or filled me with hope."
There are, in fact, a large number of Westchester and Fairfield County women in the book.
Freed said the search for engaged and passionate women started with friends and associates but quickly expanded as many referred him to others, creating a chain of connections that went around the globe.
So far, the response to what he's put together has been positive with a fall feature from Experience Life Magazine and a promise from Morales to be on the Today Show when PRIME is printed.
He is also in meetings with a media company to launch a PRIME and web presence that will continue to feature new portraits and essays, as well as insights into spiritual, health, and community interests.
Go here to view the PRIME video and Kickstarter page.
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