Eylül Aslan – Trompe L’Oeil
Can you tell us more about the project of the book ?
My book consists of photographs of body parts of me (chosen by the men I met through Tinder) and their own body parts that they liked and disliked. I was interested in finding out if they would all choose the same features of mine to be attractive/unattractive and I wanted to see how they saw themselves.
What first caught your interest with Tinder ?
I was just very interested in finding out if my inspiration for the project would actually prove itself to be correct. It is a platform where people look for someone to meet/date/love/have sex/make art – whatever the reason – everyone needs to create a profile with photos that they think will make other people interested in them. And because I wanted to prove that beauty has no standard, I thought meeting men through Tinder and asking them what they find attractive about themselves and about me, would be a good idea.
Wasn’t it complicated at first to match with men with the aim of the project instead of having a date ?
It was very clear on my profile why I was on Tinder, so they knew what they were saying yes to but of course it was a lot of work to convince some of them. But most people were really into it.
When we first met in Berlin I remember you had that project on mind and you were pretty excited to shoot men for this project (as you were more used to photograph women), do you think it was different or more challenging for you ?
It was definitely different in the way that there was more of a sexual tension between me and my models, even though both sides knew it was for the sake of the project and not for dating. And the process of the whole project was also sensual because of each side looking at the other and searching for the liked and disliked body parts. But I would not say it was necessarily more challenging.
Also, you shoot your body since long, it’s very central part of your work, how was it different this time ?
It was very different in the way that this time my models (the men I met through Tinder) were the ones who decided which body part of mine they liked and disliked, so I was given the body parts of me to photograph when I usually choose myself what to photograph.
You picked up a name which is not obviously related to Tinder, what was the idea behind this title ?
I wanted to call it Trompe L’Oeil because people on social media often choose a curated version of themselves to show to the world. We choose to show the “good” sides and hide the “bad” sides. Nobody or nothing is really what they seem like in the end. So, to me these well curated profiles are simply tricks of the eye. That is where the name comes from.
What would be the lesson or the idea you keep from this project, now it became an object in a book, I guess it was kind of challenging for yourself also ?
I guess I’d say that it has been a very personal project, that changed me forever, especially my self image and the way I see and feel about my appearance. I am much more gentle and accepting towards myself, knowing that this is how I look and no matter what other people think or feel about my looks, this is what I got and being happy about it is the only choice I have.
Do you have any sentence to describe this project, since you’re keen on good words ? 🙂
It is a project that I hope to make people feel better about themselves, when they also realise like I have realised myself that the beauty has no standard, it is truly in the eye of the beholder and that all this suffering regarding our looks should have finally an end.
Questions of Fiona Vilmer writer specialized in contemporary art.
Photographs courtesy of the artist.
published by Eylül Aslan
printed in 2017, in Germany
25 cm x 30 cm