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