At first sight one can say the vast majority of people with a Facebook account have a wonderful, ideal life. Lots of them have their profiles full with pictures depicting happy moments in family, fun moments from parties, or amazing photos from holidays. But is it always this the reality?
Zilla van den Born, a 25 years young girl from Amsterdam, used her Photoshop skills and imagination to fool her entire family she is having fun in an exotic vacation. The fake trip was actually part of a university project through which Zilla wanted to show how easy it is to manipulate reality in the digital world.
For five weeks Zilla van den Born, who is a graphic designer and video artist, managed to arouse the envy of many people from her Facebook list by sharing with them photos from what seemed to be an authentic trip to Southeast Asia. The witty girl shared lots of pitures with her seeing the local sights, snorkeling or eating fantastic Asian food. What she didn’t do, however, was actually leave home during all this time. Instead, she photoshopped all her pictures.
To recreate the Asian culture and the amazing athmosphere of an exotic trip, Zilla van den Born resorted to all sorts of tricks. She went to a Buddhist temple in Amsterdam where she took photos with her sitting next to a monk, she prepared a delicious Thai restaurant meal with food she brought at an Amsterdam grocery store, she visited the aquarium and the butterfly garden in Artis Zoo (Amsterdam) to show her friends exotic fish and butterflies, she even took photos in her home pool and made it look like she was in the ocean. To be more convincing she didn’t forget to tan at … a solarium, of course.
Nobody ever suspected (except her boyfriend who knew from the beginning about her fake trip) what was Zilla’s reality. But when she decided to tell her parents and friends how easy she fooled them, their reactions were unforgettable.
“My goal was to prove how common and easy it is to distort reality. Everybody knows that pictures of models are manipulated. But we often overlook the fact that we manipulate reality also in our own lives”, Zilla van den Born explains her motivation behind the experiment.