I’m not looking for love; I’m in a monogomous relationship. But I went on Tinder for a week to find models for a photo project. I thought it would be very easy because, after all: we are in Berlin – people are open-minded and interested in contributing to art projects… Oh and I was right, they were interested…as long as they could get laid after the photos were taken!

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My profile description read “research for a photography project”. Now that I think about it, it does sound dirty, or at least it could be interpreted as something sexual. Naturally, the first messages guys sent me after we had matched were similar to this: “You can research me all you like ;)” But I was only interested in photographing them. They thought they could try something new and have some sex as a bonus. My Tinder models and I expected different things. Would I feel differently had I not been in a relationship though? I am not so sure.

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That is why I thought that I should be direct and upfront and let them know I am not in any way interested in sleeping with them. But that is the irony – was I really not interested in having something sexual with them? I had to decide in less than a second if these men were attractive or not. I was trying to be as objective as possible but it was not so easy. I do have a type. I am a sucker for blondes. And after some matches I realized the whole list was made up of blonde attractive men. And they liked my looks too. It felt nice to have this confirmation that they thought I was attractive as well. Then I reminded myself that I was not here for this! It was getting confusing for both sides.

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Apparently a lot of people use the app at night before going to sleep…And I found myself doing the same. The bedroom was dark, my one-and-only snoring next to my pillow, my phone screened dimmed as much as possible, yet it lit up the whole room. He did not seem to care – he slept away like a baby. He probably thought I was sleeping just like him. But I was not. I was completely obsessed. I needed models. I kept swiping left and right. Mostly left.

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Some guys were familiar with my photography and understood that I was just using Tinder for a project, but they weren’t comfortable with the idea because they didn’t want their partners finding out that they were on Tinder. Others wanted me to model for them in return. Some were too shy to accept it even though they were interested. And some got angry that I was there for anything other than dating.

In the end though, my project did not succeed because I could not give them what they wanted in return. Some were very obvious about it. Some hoped maybe something could have happened. That made me very uncomfortable. And that is when I gave up on the idea and deleted the app.

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Sex – even just the possibility of it – opens a lot of doors. Do I sound too much like a sexually frustrated and suppressed Turkish person? Maybe. I had not believed that before, but after this experience I do. It also makes me think of the past, when I first started taking pictures. This comes as no surprise, but the photography business is mostly dominated by men, especially in Turkey. I have had a lot of men help me out during the years. And somehow there was always this feeling in the air… were they also expecting something? Would I be more successful had I met their needs and expectations?

All Images: Eylül Aslan