(Kitchens… with Henry C from Cardiff)

I hate shooting in kitchens. When we do indoor home shoots, usually we just walk around and find various areas to use as backdrops, but I avoid kitchens. Somehow I just don’t find toasters, kettles and dirty pots and pans very sexy, no matter who is standing in front of them. But sometimes I end up taking a shot or two there anyway… and inevitably never use those pics!

See more of Henry C and read his story in Elska Magazine issue (07) Cardiff (Wales):


(Why Berlin… with Diego S from Berlin)

There’s various reasons behind why we choose a certain city to feature, but sometimes it comes directly from a suggestion by a wannabe Elska boy. That was the case with Diego S who wrote to us shortly after our first issue came out asking if we’d consider coming to Berlin, and if so, if he could be in the issue. At that time no decision was made yet for our second Elska location, but since we already knew we’d have one Berlin boy in Diego, we went for it. 

See more of Diego S and read his story in Elska Magazine issue (02) Berlin (Germany):


(Hipsterski… with Daniel C from Toronto)

It took me a fair bit of time to get into Toronto. It’s all so jumbled up, so hard to orientate yourself psychologically with. I was staying in the Church & Wellesley gay village area, which I didn’t really love – perhaps it wasn’t ‘hipsterski’ enough for me. Then I was shooting off in the far edges of the city, almost in the suburbs, such as in York and Scarborough. So it wasn’t until the fourth day when I met Daniel C that I started to like Toronto. It happened when I went to the corner of King Street and Parliament where I was meant to meet him. I was early so I found this sweet coffee place called Tandem with Japanese flavour (and an amazing matcha cookie) to spend some time in. This could have been my local haunt; this neighbourhood (and I don’t know what it’s called) is where I’d want to live if I had Toronto in my future.

See more of Daniel C and read his story in Elska Magazine issue (08) Toronto (Canada):


(But he totally wasn’t… with Milan C from Toronto)

With a name like Milan, I was expecting someone very sort of ‘fashiony’. Indeed I suppose he was the most ‘modely’ sort of guy in the Toronto issue, the one I could most imagine seeing on the pages of a fashion magazine. And with that look, I had a stereotypical view of someone that would be rather arrogant and full of diva-style attitude… but he totally wasn’t. Rather quiet and bit reserved, he gradually opened up into such a lovely guy, so that by the end of the shoot I wish we had more time together.

See more of Milan C and read his story in Elska Magazine issue (08) Toronto (Canada):


(An endorsement for Trump… with Darren W from Toronto)

I met Darren at Victoria Park Station, on the edge of Toronto, and we hiked the ten minutes through the rain to his lovely bungalow. This was the only rainy day during Toronto shoot week, so fortunately our shoot was all inside. When we got home, Darren’s partner was there, and as soon as I got my shoes off, he was lecturing on quite vociferously about politics, including an endoresment for Trump. Darren on the other hand was mild-mannered and kept out of politics. It seemed a very unusual coupling, but sometimes those are the best matches.

See more of Darren W and read his story in Elska Magazine issue (08) Toronto (Canada):


(Cover Boy… with Tate S)

Choosing a cover for each Elska edition is always a tough choice. Usually we make three or four covers and then seek advice from a small circle of Elskans (that’s my term for an Elska reader, which technically means “darlings”). We then do a little vote to choose the favourite which decides the winner, although like Rupaul on “Drag Race”, the final decision is mine to make.

For the Toronto issue, we had four covers. One was of Adam Z on a balcony with a Toronto skyline view. Another was Mitch D with a load of oh-so-Canadian red maple leaves behind him. Another was Shane H in a rainbow-coloured tunnel wearing a Spice Girls t-shirt. And finally we had Tate S squarely framed between a swimming pool and a window with another skyline view.  Tate was the winner.

Sometimes a cover can be controversial. Of the three cover possibilities for the Lviv issue, I went against advice and chose the one that had “ПТН ПНХ” (“Putin Fuck Off”) written across in graffiti. And then with Berlin there were those who thought using the Berlin Wall as a backdrop was disrespectful. For Toronto, however, the controversy was about the choice to use an image where visible scars were not photoshopped away. In general it’s part of the Elska aesthetic not to over-airbrush, so that’s not the controversy. Let’s just say that these scars are, to some viewers, different. Scars tell a story. And besides, it was about time we showed a bit of skin on a cover, considering how much nudity is actually inside the mag!

By the way, Tate was there with his friend Samson L, and I was so tempted to ask him to shoot too. He was so freaking cute, scruffy dude, but I already had more than enough guys for the issue, and he’s from Nova Scotia anyway. Hmm, shall we do an Elska Halifax issue?

See more of Tate S and read his story in Elska Magazine issue (08) Toronto


(Especially in London… with James A from London)

In the early stages of Elska, before things got mad busy, there were times when I’d do an impromptu local shoot, just because I was in the mood to take some photos. One morning I turned on Grindr, messaged a few guys asking if they wanted to do a shoot, and James A said yes. And that’s quite a big deal, especially in London where the Grindr boys are at their bitchiest. Of course, with no London issue, there was nowhere to put these pics (except for here). But actually James A decided quickly after shooting that he didn’t want his [naked] pics published anyway. As it turned out, he’s a teacher, so I totally understand.

See other boys in other cities, and read their stories in any edition of Elska Magazine: