Colin C was the last guy we shot in Berlin for Elska Issue (02). In fact we didn’t know we’d be shooting him at all until the last minute. Rica Shay, who I’d photographed and interviewed for Elska Issue (01), had just gotten back from a trip to Berlin. When I told him that Berlin would be the setting for the next issue, Colin was at the top of his list of who I must meet. So, Rica put us in touch.
I didn’t hear from Colin until the second-to-last day, so there was no time to really plan a location or anything. I just told Colin to get a bunch of clothes together, whatever he fancied, whatever represented his personal style, and meet us outside our flat in Prenzlauer Berg at 4pm.
When he arrived and unzipped his bag, there was menswear and womenswear, a kit from the gay rugby kit he leads (the Berlin Bruisers), some lederhosen (yes we know this isn’t Berlin-accurate culturally), and this long-sleeve kiss-covered half-shirt from H&M.
While we often say that Elska shoots ‘regular guys’, it’s hard to say that Colin is very ‘regular’. What we mean is that we don’t hire professional models, but neither do we specifically look to shoot guys who look ‘normal’. Whatever your style, you’ve got to admire someone with the balls to walk around with a glittering rainbow unicorn adorned backpack (buy the issue to see him wearing the backpack and nothing else).
Colin is the poster-boy for pride. Having him sashaying around like he doesn’t give a fuck makes me not give a fuck. It makes me feel OK as I am. Elska isn’t here to shoot one type of guy, but any and all types. And when someone sends us hate saying that the guy with the small patch of hair on his upper back on page 94 of Issue (01) “is disgusting and makes me want to vomit”, it only makes me find that guy more beautiful. Or when someone comments that the guy on page 27 of Issue (02) is “too skinny and not even handsome”, I want to hug him not out of pity but out of pure desire. And it makes me feel prouder that I’m no supermodel either ‘cos we are all beautiful as we are.
Happy holidays to you all and I wish you lots of love!
For more about Elska, see www.elskamagazine.com