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The reality, he said, couldn’t have been further from that movie-and-media-driven cliché ― though palm trees and congested freeways were in abundance.
“We feared that the image of Angelenos as vain, self-obsessed and body fascist would be true,” Campbell, the founder and editor of Elska magazine, told HuffPost. Instead, the people he met in L.A. “really shared [my] values.”
He photographed and profiled 17 gay and queer Los Angeles men for the new issue of Elska, which hit newsstands this week. The 184-page edition of the queer culture and lifestyle magazine is the largest in its three-year history and, according to Campbell, its most racially and ethnically diverse.
Many of Elska’s subjects appear in various stages of undress in photographs accompanying essays they wrote. Their submissions are just as compelling as their photos.
Actor-comedian Drew Droege, who won raves for his one-man off-Broadway play, “Bright Colors and Bold Patterns,” muses on former first lady Barbara Bush and blitzed avocados in one essay. In another, Baldwin Hills resident Caden Gray shared his struggles in balancing his teaching career with his love of performing music, and Tammie Brown of Panorama City looks back on having to persuade his high school principal to allow him to attend his prom in drag.
“Everyone is welcome in Elska,” Campbell has written, “and all the men in Elska adhere to our vision and values: honesty and positivity.”
Previous editions of Elska featured pictorials shot in Bogotá, Colombia; Mumbai, India; and Perth, Australia. The Los Angeles edition is the second to focus on a U.S. city; a 2017 issue was set in Providence, Rhode Island.
View more photos from Elska’s Los Angeles issue below.
Head here to read more about Elska magazine.