Elska — the bimonthly male photography, culture and travel magazine that has been described as ”part intellectual queer pin-up mag and part sexy anthropology journal” — dedicated its most recent issue to Haifa, Israel. It’s the third-largest city in Israel, where Israelis and Palestinians live together. While there, Elska took pics of handsome gay men and published their images alongside each guy’s personal story.
Elska editor Liam Campbell says he has received more requests to cover Israel than any other world city, but that “It was important, especially in a politically sensitive place like Israel, that we be able to show diversity.”
Haifa has a diverse community of Jews, Palestinians, Arabs from around the Middle East and also lots of citizens from former Soviet republics. It also has a mountainous landscape, gorgeous old buildings and sandy beaches along the clear blue Mediterranean sea, making for captivating photos that capture a sense of the place and its people.
“Most striking is how much the locals care for each other,” Campbell says.
He continues, “All of the men we met kept asking if we’d managed to meet people from other communities. Jews were spreading the word to their Arab friends, Arabs were introducing us to their Russian friends, and everyone wanted to make sure that we would be able to show the multiculturalism that the people of Haifa are so proud of.”
Check out these 12 shots (some NSFW) of Jewish and Palestinian gay men in Haifa:
The stories in the newest 164-page issue of Elska include that of an Arab man coming out to his conservative family, a Jewish man left heartbroken over a contentious affair and a Russian newcomer struggling to fit into his new community.
Campbell says, “Haifa seems to set a better example than anywhere else in Israel of how different people should be able to live together, not just by tolerating each other but by loving each other.”
The title of Elska magazine means ‘love’ in Icelandic. Each issue features photos of a dozen guys from a different international city along with some of their writing. Previous issues have covered cities like Yokohama, Japan; Istanbul, Turkey; and Taipei, Taiwan.
Featured image via Elska magazine