I joined Tinder back in September 2016 after my roommates practically made me do it against my will. I felt stupid, but I quickly realized everyone and their grandmother is on it or something similar. Whether its Bumble, Hinge, or Farmers Only...okay that last one was a joke, but regardless online dating is a social norm in our generation. To me, I looked at Tinder as almost a game. I spent my first few months on it pretty much going on when I was super bored. I was literally an internet troll but soaking in the compliments. After a while, I started talking to some pretty interesting people and weirdly enough also made a friend or two. I decided I was going to treat Tinder as my own personal modeling agency.
The first guy I asked to photograph was Michael, a twenty-one year old college student from New Jersey. Michael is a football player and a Jiu Jitsu "master" of Panamanian decent. The second I saw his profile photo I knew I wanted to take his picture. He just seemed effortlessly photogenic. So, right after we matched, I instantly sent him my favorite gif and we got to talking. He was super sweet right off the bat, so I bit the bullet and asked him if he would be interested in modeling for me. He agreed right away. I was beyond relieved! Its a nerve-racking situation to put yourself into. I feel like some guys would think its a really weird question- like, "Hey, I just met you on this dating app, can I take your picture because I find your face hella appealing?" We met up a week later. He was just as sweet in person as he was via text. Also, I would definitely describe him as one of the most well mannered guys I've ever met. He was a natural and I loved shooting with him. He had a huge personality, which was great! I personally am an introvert and relatively shy when I first meet people. Working with people who are also very much like myself has always been a challenge. He made it super easy for me to do my job. He continuously thanked me for the opportunity to be my model which was very endearing. We plan to shoot again in the next few weeks.
The second guy I met up with to shoot was Sean. We instantly matched and after doing one Tinder shoot I felt invincible so I struck up a conversation and learned he was visiting his grandma for spring break. He was a twenty year old graphic design major from the Bay Area. He wasn't free until after sunset so I told him to meet me at 9:00 in Time Square by the police station (just to be safe,) haha okay bad joke. I didn't want to lose out on the opportunity to shoot with this guy, so I said why not do night portraits. After being extremely nervous for like five minutes, our conversation flowed really well and I loved getting to know him. This was probably one of my favorite shoots I've done since moving to New York City, and he was honestly one of my favorite people I've met since being here too. He was sweet and very respectful. He thought I was talented and that I was going to go on to big things, which was nice to hear. We plan to hang out the next time he is in town.
Overall, this entire experience got me out of my comfort zone. Taking photos of someone is very personal to me and I don't just ask anyone. I realized you can learn a lot about a person through photography. I am most comfortable behind a camera and I think I was able to come into my own. I got very lucky with these two amazing guys. Thank god they weren't psychopaths, *weak laugh*. Tinder is a weird place, but sometimes, very rarely - you can find some rather extraordinary people on there. So with that, keep swiping ladies. Just please, dear God, don't settle for the guy with the photo holding a fish.
Below, I have some of the images as well as an interview with one of the guys about online dating.
Me: "Why are you on Tinder? "
Michael: "Im on tinder to make it easier to meet people, party,create experiences, maybe something would lead to a business opportunity. I am pretty busy with practice and work, when I chill with my friends we go out to bars/ parties, I also use tinder as a way to be more social in that sense."
Me: "Why do you typically swipe right/ why did you swipe right on me?"
Michael: "Usually I find the person attractive or their profile is interesting- a lot of times it is based on just appearance or a gut feeling. I swiped right on you because your bio was funny- I loved your line about the headshot"
(This is true, my bio says "Hit me up for that crucial Linkedin headshot" HAHA )
Me: "Do you typically message first or do you want the girl to message first."
Michael: "Sometimes I am not on the app for days at a time, typically 3 on end so usually I get a message first. But, if i do message first I usually send a pick up line or I take from their bio."