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We’ll be in London from 29 May – 4 June to shoot an upcoming issue of Elska! 

If you’d like to be photographed and write a story for us, please fill in the details at elskamagazine.com/beinelska.

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Our latest “Elska selfie” comes from one of our Patreon supporters, a California guy called Matthew. He’s kind of emphasising that we don’t only do print mags, but we also offer a companion bonus e-zine called Elska Ekstra. In this picture, though hard to read, it’s our Elska Ekstra Bogotá zine. 

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Another Elska selfie sent in from a Sydney guy called Bryce, showing off his copies of Elska Berlin, Elska Reykjavík, Elska Istanbul, and the rare first run of Elska Lviv. You can follow him at instagram.com/broberts89

And if you want one of those rare Elska Lviv issues, there seem to still be a few copies left at The Bookshop Darlinghurst in Sydney.

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Foreign Tongues… with Jean-Bosco M from Elska Cape Town

Something just wasn’t right when I read Jean-Bosco’s story. It’s not that the text was terrible, but it revealed he wasn’t good at English. I had no idea. In retrospect it should have been obvious he wasn’t a native English speaker with a name like Jean-Bosco, but when we first met (online) I only knew him by his profile name “Makoto”.

When I started reading his text, I quickly saw him mention being born in Congo, so I figured it might be appropriate to message to him in French. He responded back in fluent French and so I decided to ask him to please rewrite the story in French. He quickly did, and what came back was perfect. I always tell the guys they can write in whatever language they’re most comfortable in, and we’ll worry about the translation, but I never offered this to Jean-Bosco ‘cos I never knew he wasn’t an Anglophone. Our previous messages online were only brief and so he was able to use an online translator… but that won’t work for a full story.

Later, once we met in person, even though his spoken English was actually quite good, I thought it would be fun for me to conduct the shoot in French. My BA degree is in French but I only rarely get to use it these days. So as I walked over to meet Jean-Bosco for our shoot, I loaded up my phone with French tunes and practiced over in my head those terms I’d learned when shooting Elska Brussels: “addose-toi” [lean], “lève le menton” [raise your chin], “accroupis-toi” [crouch down], and of course, “déshabille-toi” [take your clothes off]!

It’s such fun to speak in foreign tongues. That’s why I hope one day I can shoot in the countries that are home to the other two languages I’ve studied… Russian and Georgian. Maybe one day.

Pick up a copy of Elska Cape Town here: bit.ly/elskacapetown

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I like to affectionately refer to Elska readers as ‘elskans’, an anglicised plural version of the word ‘elskan’ which means ‘darling’ in Icelandic. Like Gaga has her monsters, Kesha her animals, and Kylie her lovers, we have our elskans.

Sometimes our elskans like to send in selfies with their favourite issues of Elska. Like this one from someone who wants to be known as “horny customer.” Well thanks, Horny Customer. Keep them coming!

And if you’re an elskan who’d like to send in an elska selfie, send it to elskaservice@gmail.com.

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Allir Elska Berlin [Everybody Loves Berlin]… with Raphael K from Elska Berlin

This week we ran the sixth re-printing of our Elska Berlin edition, meaning there’s now more copies of it in the world than any other Elska issue. Although technically Elska Reykjavík is the best seller when you include download copies, Berlin is the hard copy king. And really, Elska is best enjoyed in its classic printed form.

So how come everybody loves Berlin? I know that when I first went there at the tender age of nineteen, I wasn’t totally in love. But I was an innocent sort of kid. Imagine Blair St Clair but with chest hair. I remember going to a random gay bar and being genuinely shocked to see porn showing on the TVs. And then when I went to go find the loo, I instead found a dark room filled with roaming hands and slurping sounds. It was of course not just a dark room but a darkroom, and honestly I never heard of such a thing before. But I could get into it!

Over the years I returned to Berlin a few more times, and discovered that the debauchery I’d found previously was nothing. One memorable night of Elska Berlin Shoot Week involved me going to lab.oratory where a friend and I hung out totally naked at the bar, drinking and chatting. I still have my innocent side though – I never dared to wander off from the bar area into the adjoining rooms, too scared I might slip over on a jizz-slick and slide into some sort of fisting accident. I was however tickled to see, when I went to the toilet, that some of the urinals were replaced by a couple of portly men sat on the floor with their mouths agape. For the record, I used a “normal” porcelain-style urinal. I was just too unsure about the etiquette surrounding the use of a human pissoir.  

So I don’t know, maybe Elska Berlin is so popular because people are expecting more of the naughtiness that Berlin is famous for. But what I discovered when shooting Elska Berlin was that the local guys are as boring as anywhere else! Most guys I met don’t spend their evenings at sex parties. Rather they’re home watching TV, hanging out with friends, or maybe getting a bite to eat. The wonderful thing about Berlin isn’t that it’s depraved, but rather than you can find depravity if you want it. I don’t want to make a wall analogy, but there’s a great sense of freedom here, where all different kinds of people can come together and be themselves. As in Berlin, everybody is welcome in Elska, so it really is a perfect Elska city.

Elska Berlin is 152 pages and contains photospreads and stories from fifteen local men. Grab a copy of it from bit.ly/elskaberlin

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Especially keen… with Jono B from Elska Cape Town

The first day of Elska Cape Town Shoot Week was meant to be quiet. Getting to South Africa involved two eleven hour flights with a very long layover in Istanbul sandwiched between. I’d arrive in the evening and then wanted the next day to be easy-breezy so I could cope with the jetlag and just relax a little. So Day One of Shoot Week had only one session booked – with Phijo S – and it was booked for midday so I’d be able to have a long rest in the morning.

But during the shoot with Phijo, as he got to know me and the Elska project a bit better, he decided that it was something he really wanted to spread the word about. As soon as I left Phijo I started getting messages from his friends asking to take part. Unfortunately most of my week was full with other bookings, but I did have that afternoon to offer. One guy, Jono, was especially keen, and he offered to leave work early so we’d be able to meet for the last hour of sunlight.

I love when Elska guys come to the project like that – willing to do anything, to shoot anywhere, to dress in anything, whatever. That was Jono, totally up for it,. The only problem was that I wish we’d got in contact earlier. Then I’d have been able to offer him a longer session, with the possibility to do more shots in more locations, and the time to plan a few more looks. But hey, I’m just glad we got to have Jono at all, and I love what we managed to do together.