Over a two-month period I went on a total of 17 first dates using the dating app Tinder – 11 of which allowed me to take their portrait at the conclusion of our date. The resulting body of work is a collection of black and white portraits that document my experience with Tinder. It is my hope that people will look beyond the voyeuristic appeal and see it as a social commentary on how we connect with one another in a digital world.Kirra Cheers
NAME: FREDDIE AGE: 27 OCCUPATION: FINANCE DATE: DRINKS AT FLUTE BAR
WHAT INITIALLY INSPIRED YOU TO BEGIN THIS PROJECT?
As co-founder of the Brooklyn Collective – I was curating and showing in a group show depicting ‘Modern Romance’. Tinderella is my interpretation of modern romance based on my own experiences with Tinder
NAME: DAVID AGE: 24 OCCUPATION: LAW STUDENT DATE: DRINKS AT ART BAR, WEST VILLAGE
NAME: JUDE AGE: 31 OCCUPATION: DESIGNER DATE: DRINKS AT GRASSROOTS FOLLOWED BY PIZZA
HOW DID YOU FEEL AT THE BEGINNING OF THE PROJECT COMPARED TO THE END?
First dates are hard enough without the added pressure of the project. Putting myself in that position night in, night out was exhausting both emotionally and physically. Although initially I found the process exhilarating, towards the end – I couldn’t help feel like it was an interview process and I experienced what I refer to as ‘Tinder Hangover’. Now that I have had time to distance myself emotionally from the work, I see it as a fascinating social experiment with the scope for significant personal introspection.
DO YOU HAVE ANY STRANGE EXPERIENCES THAT CAME ABOUT AS A RESULT OF THE PROJECT?
I made the decision to include audio of an entire date as supporting material. I was reluctant to inform the date I was recording them, believing it would ruin the authenticity. It was a decision I struggled with ethically but I felt that as a result of my fondness to talk about myself it would be more revealing of me than the other person. I decided to use my iPhone but needed to test its capabilities in a noisy bar room situation. It was the first time I’d attempted to record audio and I was on a date with a finance guy who was recalling his glory days as a mathlete. Forty-five minutes into his rant about his math adventures I got bored of feigning flattery and decided to check my phone to see if it was still recording. He caught sight of my screen and asked if I had a moving wallpaper. I panicked – said yes and awkwardly changed the topic. Still reeling from the fact my cover had been blown – I over compensated with kindness for the duration of the date. He let it go but messaged me later in the night – enquiring as to why I recorded our date. I explained it was a test. Apparently satisfied with my explanation, he asked me out on a second date. I suggested that perhaps my behavior on our first didn’t warrant a second. I believe we parted on less than satisfactory terms and he declined to come to the exhibition.
NAME: SOPHIE AGE: 22 OCCUPATION: TRANSLATOR DATE: PEOPLE WATCHING AT TOMPKINS PARK
NAME: JUSTIN AGE: 33 OCCUPATION: FINANCE & REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT DATE: BRUNCH FOLLOWED BY A STROLL THROUGH MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
WHEN DID YOU ASK YOUR DATES IF YOU COULD PHOTOGRAPH THEM?
Initially I intended to inform each person of my project before the date but found I had a much higher success rate explaining the project in person. Although people were generally open minded – I was called a predator on more than one occasion.
YOUR PROJECT INCLUDES SOME FAIRLY VULGAR TEXTS YOU RECEIVED…WHY WAS IT IMPORTANT TO INCLUDE THESE IN THE SERIES?
I wanted the project to be an honest documentation of my experience. Some people use the anonymity of the online dating world to become someone they aspire to be. A version of themselves they otherwise wouldn’t have the confidence to play in person. That perceived ideal might be more vulgar, more charming, more aggressive – everyone has their own agenda and Tinder offers a platform to live out these sometimes dark fantasies.
DID YOU HOPE TO FIND A COMPATIBLE MATCH FROM THIS PROCESS?
I wanted to approach the project with a level of honesty that opened me up to the possibility of experiencing a genuine connection. Although I found several compatible matches – given the nature of the project – I didn’t have time to explore these connections beyond the initial meeting.
NAME: SAMUEL AGE: 32 OCCUPATION: VIDEOGRAPHER DATE: FASHION LAUNCH AT THE GREY LADY FOLLOWED BY DRINKS ON A FRIENDS ROOFTOP
IS TINDER A SEX APP?
The anonymity of online dating affords both men and women the opportunity to be more forward about their needs or desires, which may or may not lead to sex. It depends on the individuals involved and what they want from their Tinder experience. The idea that Tinder is primarily a sex app is a myth perpetuated by those who don’t use it. Tinder is whatever you want it to be.
NAME: DAN AGE: 26 OCCUPATION: ILLUSTRATOR DATE: DRINKS AT HIFI
WHAT IS TINDER?
Tinder is a dating app that matches people based on physical appearance. The swipe right if you like app is essentially a game with real life ramifications. It’s like shopping for men within an online realm where people or ‘players’ become accessible and dispensable at the same time. It removes the risk of rejection and provides its users with immediate gratification, an addictive concoction for men and women alike. With an estimated 50 million users world wide, Tinder has attracted the attention of the mainstream, removing the stigma behind online dating and changing the way we connect with one another in a digital world.
NAME: CHRIS AGE: 27 OCCUPATION: ACTOR/MODEL DATE: SHOPPING FOR IMAGINARY CHILDREN AT TOYS R US FOLLOWED BY DINNER AT BRYANT PARK
HOW DID THE PROJECT CHANGE THE DYNAMIC OF THE DATE?
Most people wanted me to confirm my interest in them as a person and not simply as an art project. In this way, I saw it as a swapping of traditional gender roles – posing the question that perhaps men and women aren’t all that different. Change the power dynamic and you achieve the same result. I found the role reversal to be empowering. A mentor suggested that this process of objectifying men was similar to collecting butterflies – a comparison I greatly enjoy.
NAME: ANDREW AGE: 32 OCCUPATION: MUSICIAN DATE: DINNER AT JEEPNEYS
NAME: MIKE AGE: 26 OCCUPATION: FINANCE DATE: DRINKS AT 10DEGREES
CAN TINDER BE USED TO FIND A RELATIONSHIP?
Tinder offers its users the opportunity to connect with someone outside their social circle. It’s essentially a protagonist for two strangers to meet. Where you take it from there is up to the individuals involved. I don’t see it being any more or less likely to develop into a relationship. The key to Tinder is to remain open minded. Pushing your personal agenda onto someone else will more than likely result in a less than enjoyable Tinder experience.
NAME: ALEX AGE: 25 OCCUPATION: FINANCE DATE: DRINKS AT THE WAYLAND
Tinderella was exhibited at Sky Gallery in Brookyln, NYC on August 4th. Over 400 people turned up to the opening night, including many of the men I photographed for the project.
Tinderella has been published by the NY Times, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Nerve, Junkee, ABC, The Daily Mail, The Telegraph, Buzz Feed, Refinery 29 and Elite Daily.