A fascinating new photo book from New Press focuses on yet another queer community in the world: the transgender community of Argentina. It’s their 9th book in a series which has documented the lives of LGBTQ people from Tokyo to Australia to Poland to the US and now to Buenos Aires. REVEALING SELVES: TRANSGENDER PORTRAITS FROM ARGENTINA showcases the work of photographer Kike Arnal, whose previous book, Bordered Lives: Transgender Portraits from Mexico and In the Shadow of Power examined LGBTQ lives in Mexico.
Argentina was the first nation in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage. It also passed legislation making it one of the most advanced countries worldwide in terms of transgender rights — the culmination of a long battle fought by LGBTQ support groups. In Revealing Selves: Transgender Portraits from Argentina (The New Press, April 2018), award-winning photographer Kike Arnal collaborates with individuals in Argentinian transgender communities, living side by side with them and documenting their day-to-day lives in a series of strikingly intimate black-and-white images. This marks Arnal’s second photobook with The New Press. His first, Bordered Lives, focused on the LGBTQ community in Mexico.
Revealing Selves documents a former sex worker who is now a recognized leader of the Buenos Aires trans community, a single trans mother of three teenage girls whose partner had fallen victim to drug abuse, and the residents of El Gondolín, a small, derelict family hotel now inhabited by trans women. While these and other stories in this book demonstrate the progress that has been made, the situation in Argentina is far from perfect. Trans people are still discriminated against and subject to verbal violence, physical assault, and police abuse. Of interest to LGBTQ activists and photography enthusiasts alike, Revealing Selves is both a celebration of the trans community in Argentina and a clear-eyed examination of what remains to be done in the struggle for trans rights.
Revealing Selves includes an essay by Josefina Hernandez. She writes: “What we find in Arnal’s book are first and foremost images of people at work, in love, with their families, and in their communities. Arnal does not take the easy route so often followed by those who approach the trans world, recording images of idealized femininity or elaborate artifice. He illuminates the hidden experiences, conveying them in an intimate, familiar way. He gives the people in these photographs their humanity and frees them from their assigned places in society.”
Revealing Selves is the ninth title in the critically acclaimed photobook series published by The New Press about LGBTQ communities around the world. Previous titles include Five Bells: Being LGBT in Australia by Jenny Papalexandris, Pride and Joy: Taking the Streets of New York City by Jurek Wajdowicz, Delhi: Communities of Belonging by Sunil Gupta and Charan Singh, Edges of the Rainbow: LGBTQ Japan by Michel Delsol and Haruku Shinozaki; The Kids: The Children of LGBTQ Parents in the USA by Gabriela Herman and Out: LGBTQ Poland by Maciek Nabrdalik.
The photobook series is the result of a unique collaboration between the Arcus Foundation, Emerson, Wajdowicz Studios, and The New Press.
About the Photographer:Originally from Venezuela and now based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Kike Arnal has covered stories in the Americas, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. His photographs have been featured in TheNew York Times, Life, and Mother Jones, among other leading publications. He has directed and produced video documentaries, including Yanomami Malaria for the Discovery Channel. Arnal’s photographs have been collected in Bordered Lives: Transgender Portraits from Mexico and In the Shadow of Power.
About the Publisher:
The New Press publishes books that promote and enrich public discussion and understanding of the issues vital to our democracy and to a more equitable world. These books are made possible by the enthusiasm of our readers; the support of a committed group of donors, large and small; the collaboration of our many partners in the independent media and the not-for-profit sector; booksellers, who often hand-sell New Press books; librarians; and above all by our authors. Read more here.