ELSKA shines light on the bodies and voices of Glasgow’s gay community

Graham Robson January 12, 2024

Lead Pic: Taner K

Elska, a project dedicated to sharing the bodies and voices of LGBTQ+ communities around the world, has put the spotlight on Glasgow for its latest edition. Inside, readers can get to know a variety of ordinary men from Scotland’s biggest LGBTQ+ community, introducing them through a combination of honest photography and personal storytelling.

“When I started Elska, one goal was to tackle each of the UK’s four constituent nations, though I’m sorry it took until issue 45 to finally cover Scotland,” says Elska editor and chief photographer Liam Campbell. “There was no intention behind this, it was more a case of having too difficult a time deciding which Scottish city to cover, especially Edinburgh or Glasgow. Finally we decided to start talking to some Scottish guys, and quickly it became clear that Glaswegians were the best fit for Elska. They seemed more daring, more carefree, and also a bit scruffy, quite like how I’d describe my Elska project.”

Nathan L

“The final result of our Glaswegian adventure encapsulates the city and life there so well,” continues Liam. “There’s a good deal of gloom and grey revealed, both in the images and in the stories, but at the same time there’s glimpses of gorgeousness, like in all the beautiful sandstone, the pervasive wildflowers, and the repeated attitude to get on with things and look for the bright side. Elska Glasgow is an edition with so much contrast — of disappointment and humour, of bleakness and beauty.”

Andrew M

Inside Elska Glasgow and the companion zine Elska Ekstra Glasgow, 12 local men are introduced. Each was photographed in the streets of their city and in their homes, revealing their style, their mood, and their bodies. Each also wrote a personal story to make the experience even more revealing, both about themselves and about gay life, and life in general, in Scotland’s largest city.

Some of the stories include: Les S’s reflection on a turbulent adult life since leaving his native island and embracing that this turbulence is in his blood; Craig M’s realisation that this city known for its friendliness doesn’t mean it’s easy to actually make friends in Glasgow; Andrew M’s ode to nudity, and how discovering outlets for social nudity opened up a world of new friends, new love, and a new self; Nathan L’s story about growing up in a religious family and how he’s been able to move to a freer queer present yet still misses the life he had to give up in order to achieve his own freedom.

Les S

Elska Glasgow is 180 pages and is available from a select group of shops around the world as well as for order online from the Elska website. In addition, the comparison zine Elska Ekstra Glasgow is available, including additional Glasgow men and their stories, as well as hundreds of pages of outtakes and behind the scenes tales from the making of our Scottish series. The list of stockists and details of the subscription service can also be found on the Elska website.