Looking for a cool holiday gift this season? Well, we do have 350 cool gift ideas in this year’s holiday gift guide, including a whole category of empowering gifts for girls who are going to grow up to run the world. And now here’s one for those same empowered, amazing, inspiring girls, once they’re already grown up.

Prime: Reflections on Time and Beauty is a photo collection of extraordinary women by famed portrait photographer Peter Freed. While there are plenty of photo books of celebs and notable women on the shelves, what’s special about these 130 stunning black-and-white photos of women is that they’re all unretouched, with the subjects wearing no jewelry nor a drop of makeup.

And as vulnerable as that would make many women feel, these portraits feature subjects who are anything but.

Related: Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls

Prime: Reflections on Time and Beauty is a photo collection of extraordinary women by famed portrait photographer Peter Freed.


You’ll find celebrities known for their contributions to raising up other women, like supermodel Christy Turlington Burns and NBC news anchor Natalie Morales. There’s author and inspirational speaker Brene Brown. But I really like that many of the women featured in this book have never graced the cover of a magazine, reminding us that there are just throngs of remarkable women in our midst, quietly making the world a better place in big and small ways.

You’ll find writers, lawyers, artists, mothers, activists — all in their prime (their ages range from 35 to 104!) — sharing personal experiences of hardships, challenges, accomplishments, and resilience.

There are even pages devoted to our own friends, prolific authors and bloggers Karen Walrond of Chookooloonks and Jenny Lawson of the Bloggess, who we can assure you are both forces in their own right.

And poignantly, one spread is devoted to Jennifer Goodman Linn, who battled cancer for nearly a decade and founded Cycle For Survival, which raises millions for cancer research. Sadly, she lost her battle with cancer before the book was published, but her optimistic fighting spirit lives on in her important essay.

Karen Walrond: One of the unretouched, powerful, inspiring women photographed for Peter Freed's Prime

Karen Walrond: author, photographer, blogger, and mother

As a woman in my prime myself, this book really resonated with me, as I’m sure it will so many others. I’ve long considered myself a strong, independent person who gave up the need for approval earlier in my life. But, it took a lot longer for me to feel physically comfortable being me, crow’s feet and all — and, truthfully, I’m still working on it.

But baby steps, right? Seeing these gorgeous women barefaced and proud, sharing their brilliant essays of self-discovery reminds me what a wonderful tribe I’m privileged to have.

As for my tween daughters, I loved their response as they browsed through the photos with me:

“These women are so beautiful Mama,” they both said.

Yes. Yes, they truly are.

Learn more about Prime: Reflections on Time and Beauty and order from the website, or find it at your local indie bookseller just in time to give to a strong woman on your holiday list.

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