(Small World Lisbon… with Daniel T from Lisbon)

After doing the Reykjavík issue, set in the capital city of a country with just 325,000 people, I saw just what a small world it could be. I ran into several of the guys we shot by chance in the street, at the mall, whilst driving; not to mention on the pages of the dating apps we all like to glance at from time to time. So I thought that doing an issue in Lisbon, a city with twice as many people as the entire country of Iceland, would be more anonymous.

But I was wrong. The day after shooting Andre G (he didn’t make it into the final issue), I saw him near the river carrying a McDonalds bag and too enrgossed in his conversation to hear me saying “hello” to him. The evening after shooting Luis L, I eyed him buying cigarettes in a shop in Rato. Biggest coincidence of all, though it hardly counts, is seeing Miguel G walking down The Strand in London with a suitcase in tow less than a week after shooting him.

And then there was Paulo L, providing another interesting signal of Lisbon’s small-worldness when as I met him he mentioned that he was the cousin of Ruben S, a guy I’d be shooting later that afternoon. And finally there was Daniel T who I’d run into flashing his todger to the guy in the next urinal at a public toilet in Bairro Alto. 

Ok, that last one was a joke. Daniel T was someone I’d not spoken to ‘til we met, but we’ve kept in touch since the shoot. And I’d like to think we’re friends now, so he probably won’t mind me saying the above comment (and if you read his story in Elska Issue (04), you’ll see why). 

Daniel T was found by my assistant Andriy, so I didn’t know much about him ’til we met. A lot of the pictures I took of him looked rather nervous, and I blame myself for it. I know that if we’d done the shoot now, since we got to know each other a bit better, there would have been a lot fewer angry-looking photos. Plus, he’s a shy guy generally, and with people like Daniel, it takes time to crack the shell.

This brings me to a decision to change some of how I make Elska. In the past, I let my assistant Andriy handle finding the boys, mainly because it was something he really enjoyed doing. But I have realised that making a more personal connection is something that I need to do. Meeting the boys is always a highlight of each trip, but building rapport before I arrive in the Elska destination city, is a new focus. All part of a mission to keep making Elska better and better, one city at a time.

See more of Daniel T and read his story in Elska Magazine issue (04) Lisbon


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