Muted Fawn Is Subverting Power Dynamics Through the Brutal Beauty of BDSM

Muted Fawn Is Subverting Power Dynamics Through the Brutal Beauty of BDSM

Subversive and provocative, yet oddly alluring in the way it relishes in the beauty of brutality, Nedda Afsari's (aka Muted Fawn) photography feels almost akin to a sublime fever dream of sorts.

Lain somewhere between the spellbinding and sinister, the LA-based, Iranian-raised photographer's eye-catching oeuvre is likely familiar to any underground music fan who's seen her hauntingly exquisite portraits of everyone from Caroline Polachek to Chelsea Wolfe. Or, even just the imagery she provided for St. Vincent's Masseduction, which won the 2019 Grammy for Best Recording Packaging.

Now though, Afsari's signature brand of ethereal eroticism is finally in-print via her new limited-edition photo book, Unmutedand it's a must-buy for anyone enamored with her future-fetish aesthetic.

Spanning works from 2014 to 2019, Unmuted is undistilled Afsari at her finest. With a distinct artistic sensibility informed by influences as disparate as classic cinema and the occult, she has a gift for creating cinematic mise-en-scènes that draw us into her world of chaotic vulnerability and romanticized horror; a world both intimidatingly forceful, yet intimately familiar.

Toeing the line between fetish and high fashion, her work explores themes of the divine feminine, control, and desire, often through the visual language of BDSM. Granted, the exploration of power, in all its multiplicities, is one particular concept that comes into focus within Unmuted — though much of this is personal for Afsari, who explains that each section of the book "represents a phase of self-discovery."

"Losing power, finding your power, giving it away, and finding it all over again," she ruminates, before adding, "I felt that it was important for my own personal growth and story to compile this visual diary and release it into the world and, hopefully, it would resonate with others" — something we definitely have no doubts about.

Check out an exclusive gallery of image from the book, below.

"High Horse" (2017)

Purchase your copy of Unmuted, here.

Photos courtesy of Nedda Afsari