Elska Magazine, a publication dedicated to sharing the bodies and voices of LGBTQ communities around the world, has put the spotlight on Paris for its latest issue. Inside readers can get up close and personal with a cross-section of beautifully ordinary local men from one of the world’s most legendary capitals.
“It was essential that one day we’d make an issue in Paris, it’s just one of those great world cities,” says Elska editor and chief photographer Liam Campbell. “But it was a little intimidating to approach a place with such a reputation, and one that evokes so much stereotype and expectation. The ‘City of Light’, the ‘City of Love’, the city of rude waiters and mile-long museum queues… I decided that the best way to approach Paris was to go without any plans, to just meet whoever was up for meeting us and to let them guide us through their city and their lives.”
“I tend to assume that most stereotypes are wrong, but overall the result of my trip matched the mythology, especially in terms of the romance factor” continues Liam. This city is gorgeous and the people are certainly beautiful, but it is the way they carry themselves, express themselves, and reveal their love for Paris and for each other that really seduces them. This is especially apparent in the stories that each of the men wrote for us. It’s not necessarily that these are love stories, but the way they communicate simply drips with warmth and allure. They really make you fall in love with Paris, with them.”
Inside ‘Elska Paris’ readers will meet ten local men who are part of the city’s LGBTQ community. Each was photographed in their own neighbourhoods and in their own homes, revealing some of their city, their style, and their selves. The photography provides a truly intimate and revealing way to get to know a slice of Parisian gay life, which is then taken further by the inclusion of honest and personal stories penned by each of the participating men. Some of the men you’ll meet include:
Romain D, who invites us to join him on a very Parisian sort of the first date that includes drinks, dinner, and beyond;
John B, who takes us on a trip to the East, where he talks of his falling for three boys — one in Belarus, one in Ukraine, and one in Poland;
Guillaume G shows us how Paris made his colours shine, shaping him into the person he is today;
Max D, reveals what it’s like on a Friday night at a typical Paris gay club, and what it’s like to feel like you don’t really belong there;
Xavier A, who delves into the origins of his desire, not just why he loves men but why he loves them so intensely
‘Elska Paris’ is 196 pages and is available from a select group of shops around the world as well as for order online from the Elska website. Also available is a companion zine called ‘Elska Ekstra Paris’, containing six more men plus hundreds of pages of outtakes and behind-the-scenes stories. The list of stockists and details of the subscription service can also be found on the Elska website: www.elskamagazine.com.