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Elska Presents The Queer Men of Ukraine

Elska Presents The Queer Men of Ukraine

Elska Presents The Queer Men of Ukraine
Liam Campbell/Elska

Elska Magazine, a publication dedicated to sharing the bodies and voices of diverse men from all over the world, has put the spotlight on Ukraine for its latest issue, Elska Lviv. Inside readers can get up close and personal with a cross section of beautiful people from a beautiful country that deserves our utmost attention.

This new edition invites readers to meet over a dozen ordinary Ukrainian men, presented through a combination of intimate photography and honest storytelling. Some of these subjects were met and photographed in the beautiful Western Ukrainian city of Lviv following the initial invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Then an additional cohort came to the Elska project after the more recent escalation, some being still in Ukraine and some who managed to flee.

Cover of the Elska Lviv Ukraine issue

Liam Campbell/Elska

“Since our launch in 2015 we’ve produced forty issues, and our very first was made in Ukraine” says Elska editor and chief photographer Liam Campbell. “Since the massive heightening of hostilities by Russia after 24th February 2022 there was a lot of demand to reprint that first issue, but I was unsure if a publication that is in many ways about showing off beautiful male bodies was too light for such a dark moment. So I decided to ask some of the men who took part in our firstUkrainian edition how they felt and they passed on their blessing, emphasising that anything that can bring attention to their country is welcome, and that we should be sure to share contemporary voices that can shed light on life during this difficult moment.”

Sasha K

Sasha K

Liam Campbell/Elska

The photography in Elska Lviv is the result of a rather spontaneous and casual process, without preparation or posing, where the photographer and subject merely spend time together, walking, talking and relaxing, clicking the camera periodically. This relaxed style enables one to feel like they are really getting to know these people, which is then enhanced by the addition of stories, many of which were written by the participants themselves (where applicable published in the original Ukrainian and followed by English translations).

Marko K

Marko K in front of Ukraine mural

Liam Campbell/Elska

Some of the men and stories you’ll meet int his issue include: Serhii M, who recounts the moment he met his best friend’s cousin, leading to a lightning strike of attraction that became his big gay awakening and Maksym K, who shares a poem to express his anger, anguish and most fierce resolve int he face of Putin’s war.

Taras D

Taras D on bike in subway with graffiti

Liam Campbell/ Elska

Taras D talks about his emotional response to sharing a bus with a soldier and his mysterious duffel bag

Yevhen K

Yevhen K

Liam Campbell/ Elska

Semen M

Sharped dressed man on a Ukraine street

Liam Campbell/ Elska

Oleh B

Olhe B in soccer uniform sitting on a park bench

Liam Campbell/ Elska

Nikita H

Liam Campbell/Elska

Sasha K 

Sasha K

Liam Campbell/ Elska

Mykola K

Mykola K

Liam Campbell/ Elska

Mykola K recounts the moments leading up to the explosion of war last February, and then reveals through his photographs what happened after those first missiles rained down

Alex S

Alex S

Liam Campbell/ Elska

Daniel C

Daniel C

Liam Campbell/ Elska

Elska Lviv 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 Lviv, containing nine more men plus hundreds of pages of outtakes and behind the scenes stories. Details of the subscription service can also be found at elskamagazine.com.

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