Users carefully curate their profiles to project polar-opposite images of themselves. “On LinkedIn you come across all these neat business shirt photos, often against a white background, typically made in a professional photo shoot done specifically for interviews,” Depoorter told Vice’s Creators Project blog. “On Tinder you see party pics and holiday photos showing a lot more skin. Women show of their cleavage, men pick photos in which their muscles show.”
But both of those online personas are easy to find. Depoorter, whose work often focuses on privacy or the lack thereof, started by choosing images from 10 Tinder profiles — five of women and five of men. Tinder profiles include first names only, but some users link their profiles to their Instagram feeds, which might contain their last names. Depoorter’s next stop was LinkedIn. He published the series of portraits on his Web site and on Facebook — and “it had a lot of shares,” he said.
He didn’t ask the Tinder-LinkedIn users’ permission to include their photos, he says, but after one of the people featured asked Depoorter to remove the pictures, he agreed. Then he blurred the faces of the other people in the series.
On the Internet, “a lot of people use pictures of someone else without asking,” he says, “and I think I’m doing the same.”
Since the project went live this fall, Depoorter says there has been interest in making the portraits into a book. Depoorter said he would ask for the Tinder/LinkedIn users’ permission for that. He was reluctant to talk to a reporter about the images, saying that the photos speak for themselves.
So what do they say? In a sense, Tinder In is similar to the connect-the-dot online stalking anyone might do after seeing someone on a dating site or app and before meeting up in real life.
And while the photos that users choose are different on each site, Tinder and LinkedIn are social networks that are very public. Seeing these images side by side could mirror the awkwardness of coming across a professional colleague on Tinder or a bad date’s profile popping up on LinkedIn. Putting those profiles next to each other is a reminder of the fact that there are few boundaries online and in life in general — the personal and professional realms have little separation anymore.