Made late last summer during a brief but welcome lull in the pandemic, Elska Dublin is an uplifting and positive issue that makes for a great escape from the current new COVID-19 waves that have been sweeping across Ireland, Europe, and the world. The stories the men in this issue share with readers some of the most breezy we’ve ever featured, including tales of boozy nights out on the gay scene, intimate nights in, and even tales that highlight some of the good moments to come from this pandemic era. It reveals a city and community that remain happy and hopeful despite the troubling times.
Photographically too the issue highlights a hopeful Ireland. There are smiles, candidly caught laughter, and even the sun chose to shine for us throughout most of the outdoor scenes, something that can be a rarity, or so the stereotype suggests. And regarding other stereotypes of a conservative and Catholic Ireland, the images reveal rather a lot of nudity, more than the average Elska edition, proving that this is a city full of freedom, frivolity, and fun.
“The Dublin issue was such a surprise,” says Elska editor and chief photographer Liam Campbell. “We’d just lost two planned shoot trips for future issues and were nervous that our next two trips would also end up canceled due to the pandemic and resulting travel restrictions. So on a whim I decided to hop over the ‘invisible’ border from where I was in Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland and see if I could make an issue while the COVID-19 rates were at a low. To my delight, within days of announcing my plans on social media, dozens of guys had come forward, keen to take part in my project. So I grabbed a train and quickly got to work, finishing a busy week of seventeen photoshoots just before a new set of lockdowns came into effect. It was still a scary time, but also really joyful, and I’m happy to now present an issue that will give readers a bit of joy when we really need it.”
Elska Dublin is divided into 11 chapters, each dedicated to a different Dublin lad. These chapters include a story written by the subject themselves and a selection of photographs shot in their homes and in their streets. A special limited edition companion zine called Elska Ekstra Dublin is also available, containing six more guys and their stories for whom there weren’t enough pages for in the main mag, plus behind-the-scenes tale, and bonus outtakes. Elska Dublin 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. The list of stockists and details of the subscription service can also be found on the Elska website: www.elskamagazine.com.