The latest issue of Balam focuses on “Chosen Families” across Latin America

Every issue of Argentinian photography magazine Balam impresses us more than the last. The latest edition uses “Chosen Families” as a theme, expanding on what and who constitutes a real family, not a perfect one. When we first spoke to Balam’s creator and editor Luis Juárez, the project looked quite different to its current form. “Each issue of Balam is thought of as a unique object and as an independent project, we use different times, tools and resources,” Luis says. “If you look closely, each issue is completely different in terms of design, edition and materiality.” Balam itself is not a typical magazine, but Luis enjoys playing with that term and to “contextualise what it would be like to print something collective today”. Balam itself is made up entirely of submissions and this issue proved no different in collecting an eclectic, interesting and beautiful diversity of imagery.

On coming up with the theme for the eighth issue, Luis puts it down to being a direct response to the number 7 issue, which was about “Fantasy”. “The guest editor for this issue is the Brazilian transvestite artist Ventura Profana, and she defines herself as a prophet,” Luis explains. “Who better to travel these worlds than a travesty missionary pastor; a mediator between humanity and divinity; a prophet of dissident lives, of their multiplication and abundance?” And so, images in Balam circle around family in non-normative ways. There’s “imperfect families, families born of rejection, colonized families, future families, racialized families and stigmatized families,” Luis says.

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