Elska editor Liam Campbell tells GSN about the process of putting together the Stockholm issue of his LGBTI-inclusive magazine Elska…
‘Elska Stockholm is our twenty-second issue in a project that’s been to every inhabited continent of the world. However this is our first issue shot in a wintry landscape, full of snow, ice, and a fair few naked guys photographed in warm jumpers and on cosy blankets.”
“Our top-selling issue of all time is Elska Reykjavík (Iceland), so coming to Stockholm was in part an attempt to visit another Nordic country and appeal to fans of the Reykjavík issue. But while there are some similarities perhaps in the appearance of the men, overall it shows how much different the countries of the far north are.
‘One of the aspects of Stockholm that really did have a lot in common with Reykjavík, and with our other Nordic issue made in Helsinki, was in the men’s attitudes. These were some of the shyest, most reserved men we’ve met anywhere. It meant that we spent more time with these guys than in most issues, drinking coffee, chatting, getting them comfortable with the camera. Not that spending extra time with these guys was a bad thing!
‘Stockholm is maybe the most beautiful city we’ve visited. Almost every street looks straight off a postcard. However there is a little bit of grit to be found here and there. You do have to search for its imperfections though; perhaps the most imperfect part of Stockholm is how perfect it is.
‘It’s probably the darkest issue story-wise since Elska London’
‘Despite the on-the-surface beauty of the cityscape, some less pretty facets of life here emerged in some of the stories that the men wrote. It’s probably the darkest issue story-wise since Elska London, but I got the sense that this sadness is just a part of living through the long, dark winter. Many of the men told me that people completely change in summer, as does the landscape. Some even urged me to return then… maybe one day we will.
‘This is our first issue of a brand new bigger and lovelier format. It’s part of a quiet Elska relaunch, giving fans a publication that is now larger in size, has more pages, new more luxe paper, and a more spacious and artful design overall. It’s like a gift to our loyal fans, and hopefully will appeal to new readers who’ve not yet started collecting Elska.
‘We’ve also produced a companion e-zine called Elska Ekstra Stockholm, which has over 300 pages of outtakes and behind the scenes tales. This time, as part of the format refresh, it’s now in a chronological diary format that puts you in the mind of the photographer as he shoots the Stockholm men.
‘If you’re a Robyn fan, then you’ll find a few little Easter Eggs in the issue. One guy mentions her in his story, one of her songs is on the Elska Stockholm mixtape, and there’s even a picture of her inside, sort of.’
To see a list of where Elska Magazine is sold around the world or to order a copy online, visit elskamagazine.com.