‘Elska Sydney’ is our thirtieth issue, which also marks five years of the Elska project. For this landmark edition we decided to make our second trip to Australia, following one of our most popular ever editions ‘Elska Perth’. This time we decided to invite our readers to select which Aussie city to choose, and Sydney was the winner (Melbourne came a close second - they're time will come one day).
It's no surprise that we'd eventually spotlight Sydney. As one of the world's ‘big gay capitals’, famous in particular for perhaps the world's biggest pride celebration Mardi Gras, it's also one of the most beautiful settings of any city on the planet. However, our arrival came right at the end of one of the worst ever summers of bushfires, making the sky a strange dirty colour (which is visible in several of the images here), and right at the very beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak. Nevertheless, the enthusiasm of the men we met here could not be quashed, as they were keen to show us their city. Elska is rather known for its honesty, and here is one of the most honest issues of all, with stories that reveal what's great and what could be better about Sydney, and images that show lots of beautiful perfections and not just that Bondi Beach kind of gloss.
Inside ‘Elska Sydney’ you'll meet around a dozen ordinary local lads who we happened to meet on our trip. We photographed them in their homes and in their neighbourhoods, revealing their personalities and their bodies via intimate photography (shot by us) and personal stories (written by each of the men). Some of the Aussie boys you'll get to know here include:
Stephen G, who shares his take on a rather universal story of a small-town boy choosing between a free but trying life in the city or a discreet but simple life in the country;
Rhett P, who looks back at a perfect relationship that came to an end and wonders if he can ever find something so beautiful, especially after the countless disappointing dating experiences had a trans man in this city;
Gary P, who talks about the ‘multiple personalities’ he comes to perform as a brown person in a city that can act much whiter than it actually is;
Timur S, who guides us through his whirlwind wedding celebrations, an endeavour that he and his husband impulsively threw together in the space of a few days;
Dan C, who recalls some of his first experiences with public nudity and shares how nakedness has been the basis of much joy in his life;
Mart B, who tells us about the long road he's gone with coming to terms with his body and gender, a journey that still continues but gets ever closer to a destination of acceptance
Features images of / stories from: Stephen G, Rhett P, Gary P, Dan C, Steven W, Mart B, Richard S, Timur S, Bryce R, Lucas H, John A, Rhodes H
Details and Specs:
‘Elska Sydney’ is 196 pages. The print version is 170mm x 240mm (approx 6.7 x 9.4 in), full colour, sewn-bound, offset-printed, and on 130gsm (90lb) internal matte paper and 280gsm (110lb) textured coated coverage paper with flaps. One random Elska Collectors' Postcard is inserted inside.
Includes texts in English and Russian (followed by English translations where applicable).