CULTURE & ARTS
09/19/2014 08:45 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

'Tinderella' Is The Tale Of One Artist And The 17 First Dates She Found Online

Once upon a time, a New York-based artist swimming in the deep end of online dating started a photo series. In it, she documented her experiences meeting and connecting with men and women, over the course of two months and 17 first dates. She snapped a portrait of each individual -- or, at least, those willing to step in front of her lens -- in a project that eventually became known as "Tinderella."

Could there be a better title for today's modern romance?

tinderella
Name: Alex, Age: 25, Occupation: Finance, Date: Drinks at The Wayland, Alphabet City

The artist is Australian photographer Kirra Cheers, also known as Tempting Alice. In devising "Tinderella," she approached her work as a means of opening herself up to the possibility of connecting with someone online. Her images were meant to capture not only the person being photographed, but also the dynamic between the artist and her date -- how tired or inebriated they were, what the level of physical and mental attraction was between them.

The result is a collection of casual and honest black-and-white portraits that, when paired with snippets of conversations Cheers conducted over Tinder, reveal a surprising breadth of personality. While 32-year-old Samuel stares irreverently at the camera, with a palpable level of self-confidence, 25-year-old Alex giggles at the viewer, caught in a moment of where-do-I-put-my-hands.

And then there's 34-year-old Jay, represented only by his Tinder "About" section, which reads: "I hope to meet a female who will allow me to buy them thigh high stockings and let me admire your legs."

jay

"I never pressured anyone into having their photo taken," Cheers writes in a statement on her website. "The most common concern was that of being objectified. 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?"

We wondered how, as a woman casting a photographer's gaze on multiple men, this sort of conventional gender role reversal felt.

"I found the role reversal to be empowering," Cheers explained to HuffPost. "A mentor suggested that this process of objectifying men was similar to collecting butterflies -- a comparison I greatly enjoy. It is my hope, that people look beyond the initial voyeuristic appeal and see the project as a social commentary on modern romance and how we connect with each other in a digital world."

Empowering and exhausting. "Dealing with my own emotions and the emotions of 17 others in such a short period of time was exhausting," she adds on her website. "At the conclusion of the project, I experienced what I referred to as ‘Tinder Hangover’ and although I believe the app to be a great way to meet people in a modern world where time is such a precious commodity, I am happy to no longer be an active member of the Tinder community.

Head to Cheers' site to learn more about the project (she's included avatars and descriptions of the dates who declined having their portrait taken there).

  • Name: Andrew
Age: 32
Occupation: Musician
Date: Dinner at Jeepneys, East Village
    Name: Andrew Age: 32 Occupation: Musician Date: Dinner at Jeepneys, East Village
  • Name: Chris
Age: 27
Occupation: Actor/Model
Date: Shopping for imaginary children at Toys R Us followed by dinner at Bryant P
    Name: Chris Age: 27 Occupation: Actor/Model Date: Shopping for imaginary children at Toys R Us followed by dinner at Bryant Park
  • Name: Dan
Age: 26
Occupation: Illustrator
Date: Drinks at HiFi, East Village
    Name: Dan Age: 26 Occupation: Illustrator Date: Drinks at HiFi, East Village
  • Name: David
Age: 24
Occupation: Law Student
Date: Drinks at Art Bar, West Village
    Name: David Age: 24 Occupation: Law Student Date: Drinks at Art Bar, West Village
  • Name: Freddie
Age: 27
Occupation: Finance
Date: Drinks at Flute bar (midtown)
    Name: Freddie Age: 27 Occupation: Finance Date: Drinks at Flute bar (midtown)
  • Name: Jude
Age: 31
Occupation: Designer
Date: Drinks at Grassroots followed by pizza
    Name: Jude Age: 31 Occupation: Designer Date: Drinks at Grassroots followed by pizza
  • Name: Justin
Age: 33
Occupation: Finance and Real Estate Development
Date: Brunch and a stroll through Madison Square Garden
    Name: Justin Age: 33 Occupation: Finance and Real Estate Development Date: Brunch and a stroll through Madison Square Garden
  • Name: Maike
Age: 26
Occupation: Finance
Date: Drinks at Ten Degrees, East Village
    Name: Maike Age: 26 Occupation: Finance Date: Drinks at Ten Degrees, East Village
  • Name: Samuel
Age: 32
Occupation: Videographer
Date: Fashion launch at The Grey Lady followed by drinks on a friend's rooftop
    Name: Samuel Age: 32 Occupation: Videographer Date: Fashion launch at The Grey Lady followed by drinks on a friend's rooftop
  • Name: Sophie
Age: 22
Occupation: Translator
Date: People watching at Tompkins Park, Alphabet City
    Name: Sophie Age: 22 Occupation: Translator Date: People watching at Tompkins Park, Alphabet City
HuffPost

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