Remembering last year’s shoot with Austin W, who became the cover boy of our Elska Taipei edition. Seen here with our Taipei assistant Roman Tanitchev, evening out his backpack straps, ‘cos you know he’s meticulous like that.


(My Taipei Bromance… with Austin W from Taipei)

Austin W was the Pedro C of the Taipei issue. Like the aforementioned Lisbon Elska boy, I was infatuated by his style. It felt like a crush but in a bromance sort of way, or like how a teenager might look up to an older brother or cousin who is just so cool and becomes a target of aspiration. Luckily I had an assistant for both shoots – without Roman or Andriy I’d have turned to jelly in their presence.

Austin chose a location that was so my style. It was a riverside park under a load of overpasses – everything was grey and green, plus a bit of blue. I love this kind of ugly-beautiful, a bit of harsh modernity mixed with nature. This was the first day in the entire Taipei trip that had any sunshine or blue sky whatsoever. Truthfully I’d have preferred this shot in the rain, with glistening wet concrete, but at least we stayed dry. 

Before we met I thought Austin was going to be a diva. He messaged me a couple days before to say he was worried about his hairstyle’s ability to stay in tact in the outdoors, and if it would be ok to wear a cap. “Whatever you want is fine with me,” I said, though he was unable to see me rolling my eyes. In person, however, he was no diva at all. In fact he was a bit shy and also very cool.  We also had some stuff in common, like a love for music and a good coffee place. He gave me some recommendations, both of which I went to and both of which were excellent. If you’re in Taipei, check them out: Paper Street Coffee Company; and a place whose English translation comes out as Worker’s Livelihood Apartment.

Anyway, I got so charmed by Austin that as we were shooting I decided that, without seeing the pics yet, I wanted him to be the Elska Taipei cover boy.  The only problem was that, as fabulous as our location was, it wasn’t representative enough of Taipei in general to be a backdrop for a cover. So as we walked back to the station after the shoot, I spotted a more typical Taipei street and asked if I could take a few more pics. I didn’t tell Austin why, because if he did make the cover, I wanted it to be a surprise. In the end, of course, he did make the cover. It’s my little ‘gift’ to my Taipei bromance boy.

See more of Austin W and read his story in Elska Magazine issue (05) Taipei