Elska a new erotic magazine set to hit stores in September. Models lining up to take part.
„I pitch it as a publication about getting to know beautiful men, to feel like you can understand them, like you’re there next to them. The tagline is “local boys + local stories”.
I’m trying to showcase a city through its men, so that you understand what it’s like to be a man in that particular place. Not to get overly intellectual, but I like to think of Elska as a bit like a sexy anthropology journal,“ explains 33-year-old Londoner Liam Campbell, editor of Elska, a new magazine that will be published for the first time the 1st of September.
Each issue will be dedicated to a certain city and the men who live there and they get to tell the readers about themselves as well as posing for erotic photos.
Asked how the idea for Elska came about Liam is quick to answer. „Well mainly the magazine is about combining my two passions – photography and travel. It’s definitely geared toward a gay audience but I see no reason why anyone who’s into looking at pictures of beautiful guys wouldn’t want it too.“
You shoot all the photos yourself? „Yes, but I have an assistant who does some behind the scenes shots and we accept one or two submissions from other artists for each issue. Like this month we have an editorial from a LA photographer shot in an old American motel.“
„…if I’m shooting a hot naked man, I barely notice him cos I’m concentrating so hard on lighting, etc.“
Despite living in London Liam went all the way to Ukraine to make the first issue, why was that? „I probably never will do a London issue. It’s sort of not exotic enough for me,“ he says. „The first issue is Lviv Ukraine and issue 2 is Berlin. I’ll be out there shooting for it in a few weeks.“
And you get only local men to sit for you, how is that going?
„Well for Ukraine it was a bit tricky, but Berlin is so easy. Men are contacting me already asking to be in it.“
Asked if he has been a photographer for long Liam hesitates for the first time in the interview.
„I did it in college years ago, but professionally only for the last year. I also used to be a flight attendant and took my camera everywhere.
I was a French teacher before that and did a PhD on homophobia in the republic of Georgia.“
What are your personal circumstances?
„I have a partner. He loves Iceland, just like me, but doesn’t speak a word except “pylsa” and “takk” (e. hot dog and thanks).“
And he is not jealous of you spending all this time with half-naked, beautiful men?
„No, he trusts me. And honestly, even if I’m shooting a hot naked man, I barely notice him cos I’m concentrating so hard on lighting, framing, etc. So he has nothing to worry about.“
Though the photos take up most of the 132 pages of Elska, Liam says that he is keen to have good writing there as well. „I want to have enough text so that you can really spend time with the magazine. But the text is not the main thing. I want it to feel more like an art book, something to collect.“
Do you also do the writing in your magazine? „I do some, but I encourage the boys to write their own words. In this issue there’s a few where you can tell that english isn’t their first language. I didn’t edit it, just kept it authentic. Another two wrote in Ukrainian and I kept it, accompanied with a translation.“
Tell me about the name. Elska is the Icelandic word for love. Why choose an Icelandic name?
„Well, my love of travel started back when I was a teenager. The first time I ever left the country was to visit Iceland, and I loved it instantly. In London I even started taking Icelandic lessons cos I was determined I’d live there one day. I have not managed that yet, but I’ve been to Iceland maybe 25 times, and I still love it.“
Why elska? Was that an obvious choice for you?
„First of all, I just think the name sounds cool.
But also I think of it like what you see on t-shirts “I New York”and each issue is like “ég elska Lviv” or “ég elska Berlin” etc. But very few people know what the word means…That’s where the “first of all” comes in, it just sounds cool – at least to me!“
Will the magazine be sold in Iceland?
„Yes, Eymundsson will be carrying it and the first issue will probably be on their shelves by the middle of September, and of course you can subscribe or buy online.“
And are you planning on doing an issue on Reykjavík?
„I would LOVE to, though I’m a bit concerned with being able to find people to participate. You can tell your Icelandic readers to get in touch if they’d like to get involved and hopefully I can do a future issue in Iceland.“
Elska is a British publication. The first issue is published in 500 copies but Liam hopes it will get bigger in time.