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(Writing Is Easy, Isn’t It?… with Selim B from Istanbul)

People often tell me how lucky I am to do this job, to travel and photograph men… and although it’d be nice if it actually paid a salary yet, I agree with them. I’d rather be poor and do something I love than rich and miserable. But money isn’t the biggest worry. The toughest obstacle is getting the boys to write.

For Elska, the ‘local stories’ are as important as the ‘local boys’. When I approach a guy to be in Elska, I let him know that he needs to write a 400 word story from his life in the city, written in any language. Once I get the OK, we schedule the photoshoot. Occasionally he will write the story before we meet, but sometimes it’s hard to find guys far enough in advance to give them time to write. I like to give them a week or two, but often the deadline passes with no story sent.

For every issue there have been guys cut because they didn’t send a story, but there’s always been enough ‘extra boys’ to fill the pages. And some cities are worse than others. With Berlin, Reykjavík, and Taipei, only one didn’t write. With Lisbon it was five. Perhaps it’s that old stereotype about southern Europeans being lazy, but whatever the reason it’s a nightmare. Selim B is one of five Istanbul boys who didn’t write.

But what I don’t get is that writing is easy, isn’t it? I’m always saying this to friends and nine times out of ten they disagree. So maybe that’s the problem, that I expect it to be easy for others what is easy for me. I should try to accept this and deal with it but I don’t know any other solution than to shoot even more guys with the expectation that perhaps 25% won’t write and I’ll have to not use the photos. Which is a shame.

The most worrying thing of all is that the city meant to be Issue (07) is missing so many stories that it may not be able to come together as an issue at all. It’s already being postponed and I’m trying to organise an “emergency” shoot week to make a replacement issue. There’s still time to see if it can be salvaged… I’ll let you know!

See and read from others in Elska Magazine issue (06) Istanbul

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