Elska, the bi-monthly gay photography and culture mag, releases its latest issue. Each edition is made in a different city, and this latest one was made in Lyon, France’s most beautiful city. ‘Elska Lyon’ introduces readers to over a dozen men from the local gay/queer community, photographed in their homes and in their neighbourhoods, with their photospreads accompanied by personal stories.
Elska is known for presenting ‘regular‘ men rather than professional models or celebrities, shot beautifully but without airbrushing, not hiding imperfections. This aspect of the publication distinguishes it from conventional magazines, especially in gay media. There’s no advice, no celebrity gossip, no adverts – just compellingly real images and stories. The title of the mag “Elska“ means “love“ in Icelandic, in reference to the Elska project’s conviction that everyone is beautiful, sexy, and loveable; not relying on esteeming only men who are young, white, fit, fashionable, and well-endowed! ‘Elska Lyon’ is the project’s twentieth issue, following a run that’s seen editions made all over the world, including in India, Japan, South Africa, Turkey, Iceland, Colombia, Ukraine, and more.
“Lots of people wrote to us saying that we need to do an issue in France”, says Liam Campbell, chief photographer and editor of Elska, “but it was too hard to choose just one French city to focus on. So we ran a public vote and the winning city wasn’t Paris or even Marseille, but Lyon. I hardly knew anything about the city but I discovered an intensely beautiful city full of proud, positive, and open people. The men here also had a very romantic side, making this perhaps the most seductive issue of all.“
Part of the appeal of Elska is in its intimate imagery, and part is in its revealing stories. Typically written in the form of a diary entry, the participants discuss a range of topics, such as their adventures in love, their family life, their fantasies, their passions, and their struggles. Some of the guys in the Lyon issue include:
* Julien R, who shared his list of conquests, delivered poetically and with total honesty;
* Florent F, who recounted a dreamlike tale of a complete disappearance from daily life;
* Lucas R, who talked about his first crush, with a cute football player from his middle school;
* Milan E, who discussed the difficulty he had moving on from a particularly close relationship;
* Mickaël M, who spoke with great pain of what it’s like to fall for someone who’s already spoken for.
‘Elska Lyon’ is 172 pages. It is available in a classic collectible print version or in a downloadable e-version. A list of stockists and details of how to order online can be found on the Elska website: www.elskamagazine.com.