We all know to some level that the world has gone pretty fake on the social media websites, and with advanced technology in our range, it is pretty easy to distort reality. A twenty-five-year-old Dutch student Zilla Van Den Born proved it in an amazing way. She pretended to be on a holiday to Southeast Asia, posting pictures on Facebook and taking Skype calls with friends and family, while actually she did all this sitting on her couch at her home!
Soon after her family dropped her off at the airport, she quietly returned home and posted pictures after editing them using Photoshop. Her pictures showed her visit to Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, and there were photographs of exotic food and tourist attractions too. She went to all this length to make a point: "My goal was to prove how common and easy it is to distort reality. I did this to show people that we filter and manipulate what we show on social media."
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She waved her family goodbye on the airport, only to begin with probably the most amazing social experiment of her life.
Nobody in her family noticed the postcards Zilla sent were actually stamped with Dutch postmarks.
It was all about using Photoshop cleverly!
She used original pictures of the Asian countries her family and friends thought she was on a 'visit' to and then photoshopped them, adding her pictures to make the pictures appear realistic.
And this is how the previous photo became a 'memory of her holidays'.
Zilla Van Der Born photoshopped herself onto beautiful beaches, luxury resorts and tuk tuks.
The only person who knew about her plan was her boyfriend - whose Amsterdam apartment she had stayed in for the 42 days.
The freelance graphic designer posted pictures snorkeling in turquoise water with tropical fish around her online.
Whereas in reality, those pictures were taken at a local swimming pool and then digitally altered (amazingly) at home.
She regularly sent her pictures to her friends and family to keep them convinced about her visit around Asia.
This intelligent prank-experiment was all part of her university graduation project, themed to show how social media does not always reflect reality.
All this 42 day-span, she made fake Skype calls to her parents under Christmas lights and a Thai umbrella.
Her Facebook timeline appeared something like this.
A random picture she found on the Internet cleverly
And she cleverly altered it to show the world her 'new friends' she made during the holidays
SShe bought exotic Asian souvenirs from a market in Amsterdam, cooked up Thai meals in her own kitchen.
She also took pictures tropical aquariums at Amsterdam's Artis Zoo; all to prove her point.
To keep the people convinced with her trip, she even went to tanning booths to get a healthy holiday glow of the sunbaths she 'took'.
Her family and friends were completely shocked when she told them the truth. She even filmed their reactions.
This is a picture of an actual tourist site in South East Asia.
"A picture is perhaps one of the most layered and contradictory objects that we can see around us. It represents the reality, but also falsehood. It is a fact, but also an opinion. It is technology, but also an art form.", the freelance graphic artist says.
And there she is!
Ms Van Den Born has now put together a book called 'Sjezus say, Zilla' – 'Oh God, Zilla' in English – compilation of her pictures before and after they were photoshopped.