Massachusetts-based music and art photographer Jeremy Saffer is well known for his incredible work, particularly in the realm of black metal and doom metal music. Now, in a partnership with Rare Bird Books, Saffer is releasing a massive collection of his photo work. Entitled “Daughters of Darkness,” the collection encompasses more than a decade of Saffer’s work, images of stunning, powerful women wearing nothing but the “corpse paint” that’s so familiar to the genres of music Saffer specializes in.
Most of the photos are shot in start contrasts of deep, midnight-black backgrounds and warm skin tones blended with the ghoulish visages of these painted demonesses. The models range from professionals in front of the camera to professionals on-stage at the microphone. While there are some that have chosen to remain anonymous, there are others like Ash Costello of New Years Day who are very open about their participation. There’s no judgment from me on those deciding either way, as everyone has their own privacy and brands to think about. Even anonymously, participation in this project is a wonderful way of sharing power and energy with others.
That energy is amplified by Saffer’s eye behind the lens. The lighting, the angles, the poses, they all build to a crescendo of power in the final works. More than 250 images are collected in the book, bringing it to over five pounds in heft, so make sure your coffee table is ready for its arrival. A deluxe box-set version contains more than 50 additional images and adds another pound to the weight, so you may also want to consider a kind word to whomever has to bring it to your front door.
As noted, the only raiment to adorn the women in this book is the corpse make-up and their own ink they’ve had etched into their skin. As such, it should be noted that – although these are art images – discretion of the viewer and/or purchaser should be advised. But once you get past the misapplied “naughty” label that many would want to slap on such a collection, you’re opening yourself up to a new world of blending rage, anger, aggression, and energy of the models with the style and creativity of the photographer, coming together to showcase the passions of both.
Saffer was inspired by the promotional artwork, album covers, and merchandising of the various black metal genre bands, going back into the 90s and through the modern era. In a foreword written by Dani Filth, vocalist for the band Cradle of Filth – one of Saffer’s inspirations – you’ll find the mindset behind some of the imagery: “[...]the donning of ghoulish makeup has often been likened to a transformative state of mind […].” D. Randall Blythe, frontman for the metal outfit Lamb of God, says in his intorduction: “[…] the nude female body has a beauty and gracefulness of form that the masculine physique cannot ever hope to attain. Add corpse paint, and that idealized version of feminine beauty is brutally disrupted.” It would take a better writer than myself to come up with a better way to characterize this collection than the words of these two.
The book itself comes in several different formats, ranging in price from $60 to (of course!) $666. The higher-tier versions will also include a compilation album licensed from Season of Mist and including tracks from Abbath, Carpathian Forest, Angren, and Watain, to name a few, all curated by Jeremy Saffer and presented to you in a double-gatefold vinyl set.
The saddest comment I’ll put in this review is that this collection isn’t for everyone. It should be, but I know that’s a level of openmindedness that’s simply not realistic in the world we live in. But for those who are interested, the book will be available to the world at large on October 30th, and you can get yours reserved and on order though https://rarebirdlit.com/rare-bird-presents whenever you’re ready.
Just make sure you’re ready.