Elska takes an intimate, honest look at gay life in San Francisco

Elska Magazine, a publication dedicated to sharing the bodies and voices of LGBTQ communities around the world, has put the spotlight on San Francisco for its latest issue. Inside readers can get up close and personal with a cross-section of ordinary local men from what is arguably the most legendary gay city on Earth.


“Early on Elska had become known for featuring less ‘obvious’ cities,” says Elska editor and chief photographer Liam Campbell. “For example, we chose to spotlight places like Yokohama, Japan (and not Tokyo), or Haifa, Israel (instead of Tel Aviv), and our first US city was actually Providence, Rhode Island. San Francisco is a much more obvious choice, but to me, the point of Elska’s choice of locations is to show that LGBTQ life is everywhere — in the less-known cities Elska reveals that we exist there as well and find ways to thrive; in the more known cities, Elska shows that we all have the same wants, hopes, and needs. In a sense, we can prove with this edition how ‘normal’ or ‘normalised’ we can be. For a place with such a huge gay history like San Francisco, I find it especially empowering to see just how free we are able to be. Of course, we’ve not conquered all the barriers put before us, but we can witness especially in San Francisco how strong and unerasable our community is.”

Inside ‘Elska San Francisco’ eleven local guys who are part of the city’s LGBTQ community today are introduced, allowing readers to truly get to know some of the people who live in this renowned beacon of gay life. Each was photographed in their own neighbourhoods and in their own homes, revealing some of their city and their intimate environment; and wearing their own clothes, revealing their style, or sometimes not dressed at all, revealing their bodies and facing all vulnerabilities.

The photography provides a most honest way to get to know a slice of real SF queer life, which is then taken further by the inclusion of personal stories penned by each of the participants. Some of the people you’ll meet include:

  • Adam N, talks about what led him to restart his life in San Francisco and why it was the best decision he ever made;

  • Kevin L, who reveals a history of his San Francisco by listing off all the ‘firsts’ he experienced there;

  • E C R, who takes us along on a journey of the excitement of new love, including private jets, blackjack in Vegas, and hotel bed luxuriating;

  • Victor T, who opens up about his feelings regarding getting older, and whether the intense nostalgia for his past life is spoiling his ability to enjoy his ostensibly great current life;

  • Jake T, describes a typical day out experiencing one of San Francisco’s many queer festivals, revealing how what would be unacceptable anywhere else is absolutely typical here

Elska San Francisco’ 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 San Francisco’, containing four more men and their stories plus hundreds of pages of outtakes and behind-the-scenes tales. The list of stockists and details of the subscription service can also be found on the Elska website: www.elskamagazine.com.