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If you’re knocking around New England this weekend, come see us in Providence. We’ll have a table at QTZfest at AS220 in Providence for Rhode Island Pride.

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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: http://bit.ly/elskaberlin

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10th Issue, 10th City – Elska meets the men of Mumbai, India

I can’t believe we’ve been doing this for over a year and a half. We show up in some city, meet a bunch of local boys and photograph them in their homes and on their streets. Then each writes a story for us, and their images and texts are put together in this thing we call Elska Magazine. Simple!

So why India? Well, after we did our first issue in Asia about a year ago, we heard a lot about how few [East] Asian men are seen in LGBT media. It’s true, but then we realised that South Asian men are even less visible, so we felt challenged to sort this out! Plus India seemed like a fascinating way to spend a couple of weeks, so why not?

Ten issues, ten cities so far… Lviv, Berlin, Reykjavík, Lisbon, Taipei, Istanbul, Cardiff, Toronto, Yokohama, Mumbai… it reads like a quirky fashion store window or an American Apparel bag (RIP)! Our next edition will be made in a US city, then in a European one, then in a Middle Eastern one… then who knows? Nowhere is off the table, and any guy is welcome on our pages, whether he’s an 18 year old fit white boy (thinking of Sasha K from Lviv) or a 73 year old B&B owner into public nudity (thinking of Richard W from Toronto). Authenticity is the goal here, not selling copies (though we’d really really like you to buy some)!

So please do pick up a copy of Elska Magazine sometime (or maybe collect them all). Then meet the boys on our pages, get to know them and their cities, and show us some support. There’s no ads, there’s no agenda, just local boys and local stories. Cheers!

Here’s the shop: bit.ly/elskamag

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Join us in New York to launch our upcoming Elska Magazine issue (10) Mumbai

7pm on March 9, 2017 – BGSQD, 208 West 13th Street, Room 210, New York, NY, 10011

Mark your calendars and celebrate the launch of the tenth edition of Elska Magazine, this time dedicated to Mumbai, India. The founder of Elska Magazine, Liam Campbell, will be there to say a few words about Elska and talk about the experience of meeting and shooting men In India and around the world. Come hang out with us, ask questions, have a chat, maybe meet some boys… and pick up a copy of the latest issue. Free “Elska Mumbai” posters will be available to everyone who buys a copy from the Bureau on the night.

To join the event, click here: https://www.facebook.com/events/248825655541638/

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(Cover Boy… with Tate S)

Choosing a cover for each Elska edition is always a tough choice. Usually we make three or four covers and then seek advice from a small circle of Elskans (that’s my term for an Elska reader, which technically means “darlings”). We then do a little vote to choose the favourite which decides the winner, although like Rupaul on “Drag Race”, the final decision is mine to make.

For the Toronto issue, we had four covers. One was of Adam Z on a balcony with a Toronto skyline view. Another was Mitch D with a load of oh-so-Canadian red maple leaves behind him. Another was Shane H in a rainbow-coloured tunnel wearing a Spice Girls t-shirt. And finally we had Tate S squarely framed between a swimming pool and a window with another skyline view.  Tate was the winner.

Sometimes a cover can be controversial. Of the three cover possibilities for the Lviv issue, I went against advice and chose the one that had “ПТН ПНХ” (“Putin Fuck Off”) written across in graffiti. And then with Berlin there were those who thought using the Berlin Wall as a backdrop was disrespectful. For Toronto, however, the controversy was about the choice to use an image where visible scars were not photoshopped away. In general it’s part of the Elska aesthetic not to over-airbrush, so that’s not the controversy. Let’s just say that these scars are, to some viewers, different. Scars tell a story. And besides, it was about time we showed a bit of skin on a cover, considering how much nudity is actually inside the mag!

By the way, Tate was there with his friend Samson L, and I was so tempted to ask him to shoot too. He was so freaking cute, scruffy dude, but I already had more than enough guys for the issue, and he’s from Nova Scotia anyway. Hmm, shall we do an Elska Halifax issue?

See more of Tate S and read his story in Elska Magazine issue (08) Toronto

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(What Wes Taught Me… with Wes S from Cardiff)

Because we don’t hire professional models at Elska, pretty much every guy you see in our issues are first time models. However, a few have done some sort of modelling before, or have done acting or other artistic performance – this is to be expected as the sort of person who’s up for being photographed before may have already discovered an enjoyment of being in front of the camera. But for the most part, the guys we meet turn up pretty nervous before we shoot. Wes was no exception, although he tried to mitigate his nerves by bringing a friend for moral support. That was Jody, who’d done professional modelling before herself, and who even ended up assisting on our shoot. It’s not a bad idea to bring a friend along, but even without Jody, I do my best to make people feel at ease, which I think I’m pretty good at.​​

Since I’m not after “poses”, there’s not much to worry about, but sometimes people are just a bit stiff. My first tactic is to imitate to them how to move, and then let them follow my example.  If that doesn’t work then I can maybe give some ideas of something to think about (rather than just staring at me). And if all else fails, we just talk to each other and I snap a ton of pictures and hope for some good ones caught between blinks and open mouths. But even after a year of making Elska, I really learned something from shooting Wes. 

The first set of pics we did, based around his first look, just didn’t work. There were probably a hundred shots of him in his leather vest and headband, but only one was decent (you can find it in the magazine). I learned that almost always the first set of pics is the worst, so: 1) just keep shooting until you get a good result; 2) save your favourite outfit until the last shoot and leave your least favourite look for the first set. In the end, 90% of people do get into it and relax (of course some never do, unfortunately), but even with Wes, it got good after the first set, and then really good. By the sixth set he was well into it, and one of those shots is what made it onto the cover. Cheers, Wes!

See more of Wes S and read his story in Elska Magazine issue (07) Cardiff

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(Inside Cardiff Castle… with Jack S)

Jack S met us at our hotel, Cathedral 73, and the plan was to shoot outside in the neighbourhood (Pontcanna) and then do some shots inside the room. But when Jack arrived he had another idea… “If it’s alright with you, I thought we could shoot in the castle”, he said.

I assumed he meant ‘at’ the castle, not ‘in’ the castle, meaning outside it, in Bute Park with the castle as a backdrop. So I asked him to clarify. “It’s ok, I can get us inside. I’ve worked there for six years. It’s no problem." 

I was pretty sure that lighting would be tricky, so we might get some grainy pictures (I wasn’t gonna bring flash equipment inside as we’d have to keep a low profile and stay out of the way), but I wouldn’t pass up an opportunity to get inside a castle. So we took the ten minute walk to the castle and we entered through a back door, up a steep and cramped spiral staircase, and found various rooms to shoot in, waiting for tour groups to vacate them so we wouldn’t disturb anyone.

On more than one occasion we were spotted though and fiercely shouted at by security and one particularly angry tour leader as to what we were doing and who we were. Usually this happened when Jack was hiding in a cupboard changing clothes. "We’re with Jack” I’d cry, then get excused with a sort of look that said they were dying to cart us off in handcuffs just for some rare excitement. 

When we got back to the hotel, the lighting was superb, sun streaming in through the many windows, and the picture quality was all the better for it. But the castle pics were just too special which is why they take centre stage in the main mag. The indoor ones were lovely though, and I wanted to show them, which is why Jack S got an Elska Ekstra e-zine to his name. Definitely this experience was a highlight of Cardiff shoot week, really unforgettable. Thanks, Jack!

See more of Jack and read his story in Elska Magazine Issue (07) Cardiff, available at www.elskamagazine.com