A Tinder match sent me disposable film cameras and this is what happened

Hey J,

We both know that Tinder is a wasteland, but we were there anyway. I never expect much out of my matches keeping my expectations really low has done me good and I plan to keep it that way. But there are instances like this where I can say that it was a pretty good match. Firstly because you read my bio; secondly, you looked interesting; lastly you proposed a collaboration involving film cameras.

I honestly had reservations and I automatically assumed you wouldn’t push through with the project. I mean, why would a stranger even send another stranger things? But you did, and I received two disposable cameras last November. Truly, the internet is a weird, wild place.

I remember saying that this project was going to be exciting since I knew I had two fully-packed months ahead, but I didn’t expect it was going to be crazy. It was the “I barely had time to put my clothes back in my closet” kind of crazy. You can be the one to judge if it’s a good or bad thing. Anyway, for a couple of weeks my clothes were on my bed when I worked and on my table when I slept.

This was my first shot. It cost me P606 just to get to this celebrity’s place in the deep north at 9 a.m. Relieved to say she was pleasant to work with. She even bought us coffee.

M, a colleague, asked me if this was the disposable camera I tweeted about. I said yes. M and I spent that day waiting for celebrities to get done with makeup and interviewing them about their morning routine. We’d been scouting and shooting half-naked people for almost a month by that time. All in a day’s work.

I guess sugarcoating this essay to make it sound more appealing is the better option but I’m terrible at lying. I was going through something at the time. A lot was demanded and expected from me and I couldn’t seem to hit the bare minimum. I felt like nothing was going my way, and I hate when I don’t get my way. Was it peak quarter-life crisis? Was it mercury retrograde? I don’t know.

It felt like an endless cycle of me breaking down and putting myself back together. I would do one right thing in the morning and then mess it all up in the afternoon; make amends and try again the next day. All I could think was that when you hit rock bottom there’s nowhere else to go but up.

Those past few weeks were difficult, but I somehow found my way through. I always think that there are things that are bigger than me but after seeing the outcome of all the work I did, I’m glad to say that this wasn’t one of those things anymore. It feels incredible to see your work on the big screen (and fine, behind hunky international models too). Give me some confetti, I deserve to celebrate this victory.

* * *

Have you ever quietly appreciated people? This is N. He and I worked closely during the last quarter of the year. He has good taste and a great work ethic. He’s also a tough cookie. It usually takes him about a bucket of pale before he opens up to you. Good thing alcohol was always there for us.

I have never complained about having a low tolerance for alcohol. Easily getting buzzed over a couple of beers means that there is less money for me to spend. My coach told me it’s better to just eat pulutan than drink alcohol because it also makes you hungry. He works hard to keep me disciplined but my real life demons a.k.a. my peers work harder to break it.

Booze got us through long working days, bad days, good days. And to tell you even more specifically, through a lot of failed matches too. 

I mostly talked to them about C, the only guy I had tender feelings for. We immediately hit it off when we started talking to each other. I had to down a bottle of soju the night I was going to meet him because I was nervous. He surprised me with Horchata and a couple of forehead kisses later in the night. We were just stupidly looking at each other’s faces, and afterwards we felt like we had to see each other again the day after. And the day after. And then the day after that. Until we decided to end things in December.

I got this tattoo when we were still seeing each other. He asked me if it was him. To be completely honest, it really isn’t him. It’s not anyone, actually. People don’t usually understand what’s illustrated in my tattoo. Oftentimes, I just say they’re people hugging. Sometimes, I just completely dodge the question. I hate lying but I hate having to explain what’s behind my tattoo even more.

Despite the holiday rush, December was much better. Work was still crazy but it was more manageable. Food, family, friends, and warmth were abundant. 

When you first asked me about the project, you told me to include a photo of myself. Unfortunately, this is my only “decent” solo photo from the rolls. This is me after giving about a hundred shots to our guests (and to myself too) that night. This was also the night that made me decide to stay away from alcohol for a while.


Don’t you think that it’s kind of weird you immediately trusted me with this project? And I, on the other hand, impulsively agreed to do it too? We didn’t discuss things beyond the collaboration, we didn’t even meet up at all. But I think the setup kind of worked. You did see a glimpse of my personal life.

Anyway that’s it. I hope you don’t regret giving me a couple of cameras. I hope your projects are doing well and I hope to hear from you soon.


Ina J.


#art #love #photography

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