Elska’s approach to marketing…

Here’s a lad called Branson showing off his favourite issue, Elska Berlin. Now go get some, and send us your selfies with your favourite Elska mags too!

Get into it:


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


Here’s Luca G from our Elska Berlin edition, which has just been re-issued and re-printed with a new cover and some new pics throughout. Here’s an extra unpublished pic, showing my one time experiment with a red filter. Hey, I got it for free, so why not?!

Check out Elska Berlin, available to order online or in select shops around the world.


We’ve just done another reprint of our popular Elska Berlin edition, but this time we’ve changed the cover. It’s still Raphael K, he’s still at the East Side Gallery, but this one’s just a little bit more colourful and vibrant.

Also, while we were at it, we changed a few of the pics inside and refreshed the design from the original. Check it out here:


Hey Berliners and Berlin vistors,

Elska will have a table at the Miss Read Book Fair in Berlin, 14-16 July. Come say hello, pick up a copy of one of our books, and don’t be scared to ask for an autograph on a boob or bum-cheek! 

Oh, and if you want to know the times, I’d like to know too. But based on previous years, it was open to the public 12pm – 7pm on the Saturday and Sunday only. Check for updates.

Berlin is More Than Filth…with David P for Elska Magazine

I met David P for a shoot at his home near Warschauer Straße station. When I arrived it brought back memories of a weekend trip I took here a few years back. At the time I was living in Warsaw, and Berlin was a quick, cheap and easy train ride away.

Then I stayed at a gay hostel called Gay Hostel, out in Schöneberg. It was, by the way, directly opposite Eisenherz, a shop that now sells Elska. I remember going in there, having a good browse, and just loving the place. I had no idea that I’d end up making a mag that would be on their shelves one day.


Anyway, me and some of the other guests teamed up and decided to go for a drink. After some debating it was decided that we should go to lab.orartory, a place that was said to be very “only in Berlin”. While I knew that there would be some debauchery going on, I didn’t realise until I arrived that you were supposed to be naked. Yet the idea of propping up the bar with a beer wearing nothing but shoes was not scary to me but rather, well, interesting. I was up for the experience, and with my new international hostel posse, I felt in safe company.

Located at Berghain, a former power station turned mega club, outside of which we shot Luca R for Elska Issue (02) Berlin, The Lab is in the depths of the complex. On arrival you are given a black bin liner into which you put everything but your shoes. Then you hand the bag over to someone who writes a number on your chest that you’ll use to order drinks against and claim your clothes at the end of the night.

I started with a couple of drinks, staying in the bar area, but soon felt curious enough for a wander. I recall seeing an old bathtub in the middle of a dark room, inside of which was a naked man fiddling around with himself. Other areas were more typical darkrooms, but less dark and much bigger. I was only there to look, trust me, and there was a lot to see.

The biggest impression of the evening was left, however, by a trip to the loo. There was this wall of about six urinals, the sixth of which wasn’t made of porcelain but rather was a large, middle-aged man sat on the floor with his mouth wide open. I stopped for a moment and considered which urinal to use, but in the end I was far too British about it and just assumed that it would be impolite to piss on some dude without being directly asked to. By this point the evening couldn’t shock me any more, so it was time to get my bin liner back and head off.

During the Elska Berlin shoot week, I considered going back, especially to try and shock my assistant Andriy, but there just was no time. And really, even though Berlin is famous for this level of filth, there is more to Berlin than nastiness. You don’t have to like fucking in public and pissing into mouth-toilets to feel you’ve had a proper Berlin experience. It’s like thinking that Bangkok is all ping pong popping shows and happy ending massages. Berlin is a great city with much more to offer than its notoriety. But it is there, and is worth seeing at least once.

To see the real Elska, visit




(A Georgian Stew for Three, No Two… with Max E from Berlin)

Wednesday was a particularly busy day of our Berlin shoot week. After three days in a row of going until late evening with only our morning porridge and single cup of coffee to keep us going, we made a plan to have a proper meal. There was only about an hour spare between getting back from the David P shoot until Max E would come, so I sent Andriy on to the flat to set up while I went to Kaiser’s Market to get some pork, tomatoes, peppers, onions and coriander (which was effing expensive!). I’d be using it to make a Georgian style stew (I would LOVE to do an issue of Elska in Georgia one day, but sadly I think that homophobia is still too high to make it a safe choice for us our the subjects we shoot).

Anyway, I got to chopping veg and preparing the chashushuli stew, which was finally ready for its simmering stage when Max E rang the bell. I’d bought a large enough portion (plus bread bought that morning by Andriy – you can always trust a Ukrainian to choose good bread) so that we could invite Max to eat with us.

While the chashushuli was slowly bubbling away, we did the photoshoot, but Max seemed so nervous that I lost the nerve to ask him if he wanted to stay for dinner. It seemed like he wanted to get out, so I let him. And perhaps that’s why Max didn’t make it into the final issue – there was just a lack of ease in some of the pics. Also, he never wrote his text in time (bad Max!).

The chashushuli was lovely by the way. Sorry you missed it, Max.

Max E didn’t make it into the final cut of Elska Magazine Issue (02) Berlin, but you can see who did in Elska Magazine issue (02) Berlin