String from Denmark, Man from Ukraine… with Dima S. for Elska Magazine

I was cutting through Spitalfields Market on the way to Brick Lane and popped into the Danish bric-a-brac shop Tiger. I would be heading to Lviv in a few days so my headphones were pumping tracks from the Elska Lviv Mixtape. As I browsed, I was listening to “Want it Back” by Amanda Palmer.

(By the way, it’s a fantastic video and song. Check it out here:

There’s a line at the end of the song that goes “I will let you go if you will let somebody love you like I do”. This one hit me. Perhaps a bit obvious and literal, but as it played I saw in front of me a roll of black string, I suppose to be used for wrapping gifts or something, but I’d be using it to tie up one of my models in Lviv.


Why did I choose to use Dima S. for this shoot? Perhaps it was because he didn’t have time to shoot outdoors, and I wouldn’t be tying up people half naked in the streets of a rather conservative place like Ukraine. Perhaps it was that he had a sort of defiant and rebellious look about him which made me think of the sort of person Amanda Palmer would be singing about. Or perhaps, and this is most likely, it’s because of a story I heard about some guy with a mega-crush on him, a crush that went way too intense. I imagined that the crusher would have tied him up in a cellar to keep him from going away / astray if he could have. And I imagined that the crushee, a rather aloof “I’m-sexy-and-I-know-it” type is just the sort of guy who inspires a lot of crushes with violent intensity.

As for the green, I don’t know, but I heard this colour in the music. And as for the grain, well there was no need to shoot in a high ISO (there was plenty of light), but I did anyway for the harshness of it which matches the screeching synths. Amanda Palmer is one of my favourites (thanks Richard T for introducing her to me back in Texas). I’m sure more stories will be inspired by her in future issues.

See more of the Dima S. shoot and more of Lviv in Elska Magazine Issue (01), available in select shops or online at

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