It's one of the most elaborate hoaxes I’ve ever seen using the Internet, and the victims were her friends and family. They all thought she was off on an amazing vacation, but the truth was even more incredible. If anyone in my family ever pulled this on me, I don't know what I would do!
A 25-year-old student from The Netherlands packed up her bags, drove to the airport, waved goodbye to her family, and then ...
... she went home. Zilla Van Den Born of Amsterdam spent the next 42 days holed up in her apartment using Photoshop to create fake vacation pictures of herself in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. She even made a fake background to Skype her parents at odd hours of the night. Check it out:
Zilla went to some extreme lengths to pull off this hoax. She spent time at a tanning salon and she went swimming in the freezing cold to get ocean photos for her to manipulate. She even wore a disguise whenever she would go out of her apartment.
Officially, this was part of a university project. She had help from a photographer and a post-production specialist, but Zilla is a graphic designer by trade and did much of the work herself. She wanted to explore the nature of reality through the lens of social media:
"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."
Now she's published her photos into a book called "Sjezus zeg, Zilla." You can use an augmented reality app to see what they looked like before and after:
How would you react if one of your family members did this to you? Do you ever tweak your online photos? Let me know in the comments below!
Also, you don't need an expensive program to pull off a hoax like this. You can edit your photos just like Photoshop using this free program.