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.
Elska Spring Sale
The birds are chirping, the daffs are up, and it’s time for an Elska spring sale. For one week only, take 20% off by using the discount code VOR.
Click here to head to our online shop: http://bit.ly/elskashop
On that whirlwind of a day in Harlem… with Ian S for Elska Magazine
About eight months ago my husband had an interview in New York and I decided to tag along for the day. I drove, and since I knew it was free and easy to park in Harlem, we put the car there and then he took the subway downtown and I planted myself in a coffee shop on 145th Street. I brought my laptop to do editing work, and I also brought my camera, just in case.
I was in the mood to shoot, so I turned the apps on. I messaged basically every guy on the screen, introduced myself, and said that if they were up for it, we could shoot today. I ended up shooting six guys that whirlwind of a day in Harlem, all located within a ten minute walk of my location. also asked each of the guys to tell a story, which I recorded on my phone, ‘cos it wouldn’t be very Elska without a story to go with the pics. One of those men I met was Ian S.
The thing is, I kind of got distracted afterwards (I was putting finishing touches on Elska Brussels) and sort of forgot about all the pics I took. Crazy, right? Anyway, yesterday Ian messaged me on Insta saying, “Hey, didn’t we do a shoot last year?”
“Sorry, Ian, I somehow totally forgot.” So here’s one of those pics. I’ll put the rest along with Ian’s story in the next issue of Elska Ekstra, out in early May. I promise I won’t forget this time!
Alasdair McLellan and the D on the Cover… with Jason W-P
It was a few months before Elska began, I had a day off, and I decided to cycle down to Fuckoffee on Bermondsey Street in London. I was just hanging out, drinking coffee, and leafing through fashion magazines that people had left behind there. One of these mags greatly inspired me.
I don’t remember the name of the magazine but it was something rather mainstream like i-D, and the editorial was shot by Alasdair McLellan. It was an autumn season spread featuring guys in warm, autumn colours. On one page was a lad wearing just a jumper and nothing else, his dick out for all to see. I didn’t know you could do that in an editorial, and I didn’t know you could show full frontal in a “regular” magazine. What impact it had. I wanted to do an editorial like this, and I even wanted to buy the jumper. Seriously.
The editorial made me see the scope of photography differently. It was key to the inception of Elska, a mag that would have nudity but without relegating it to the top shelf. In my photographic training, I certainly learned the rules, but I only truly got excited by the art when I found that I could break them.
For Elska Cape Town when I was shooting Jason W-P, that moment in Fuckoffee came back to me. There I had him in his warm autumnal jumper and nothing else. It was an Alasdair McLellan flashback moment. I fell in love with the pics we took, especially the one you see in the main mag with him laying on the floor, dick out and eyes looking into the camera (the one above is a “safe-for-work” cat-censoring outtake). I very nearly considered using the nude version for the cover, but everyone told me not to. Maybe you can show dick inside a mag, but you can’t put a dick on the cover! Well, maybe next time!
Perth Shoot Week update no. 3
The second part of Elska Perth Shoot week is based at The Goody House, a B&B run by a gay Swedish-Aussie couple. In the middle of what’s been one of the most packed schedules of any shoot week, the warm and intimate welcome received here was so needed. After host Pär-Johan showed me my room, we started an impromptu Swedish lesson (this is the epitome of fun to me), where apparently my pronunciation was really good, though I kept doing the vowels Icelandic style. Then he sort of ‘strongly encouraged’ me to put the camera and computer down for a bit and get into the pool. But I do have some preliminary image edits I could be doing.
Yesterday was ridiculously hot. Shooting Nathan T even as the sun was getting towards its descent was super uncomfortable, sweat dripping down our faces, with one of his t-shirts to wipe his brow and the strap of my camera to wipe mine. And before that it was even hotter while shooting Aaron A. For some reason I thought it was a good idea to climb up four sets of stairs to get “a nice view”, but once at the top we were both feeling kinda gross. 36 degrees is a lot when I’m the kind of guy who thinks 21 is hot!
So yes, I think I won’t kill me to get into that pool. Maybe I’ll even lock the camera and computer away for a day or two. Getting the final Elska Perth product to you by the first week of May is a little ambitious, but a couple days off won’t hurt.
Wank Mag Selfie… from Daniel & Drew
So, you know, sometimes we get pics of guys with their copies of Elska. Sometimes they’re in a relaxing reading pose. Sometimes they’re doing a little nude pic with the Elska laid next to them or in the background. Or sometimes they’re standing in a shop smiling as they hold their new purchase. And then there’s this one, not like any Elska selfie we’ve ever received, sent in from Daniel & Drew.
I kinda don’t know what to say about it, but I figured if anything, Tumblr would be the place to post it. Christ knows I can’t put it on the Elska Instagram or FB page. Or hmm, how about some guerilla marketing campaign where I litter some city with these printed as posters? Could I go to prison for that? There’s laws on “decency”, right?
Anyway, most of all I wonder what Cenk Y, the guy on the cover of this Elska Istanbul issue, would think. I hope he’d be flattered. I’m not sure yet if I’m going to tell him or not, but maybe he watches our Tumblr.
P.S. Feel free to send us your Elska selfies too, to firstname.lastname@example.org. They don’t have to be naked though, just saying.