One look at the Instagram feed of beauty blogger and globe trotter Amelia Liana, and you'd be forgiven for feeling a tinge of jealousy: How can someone's life be so picture perfect? Well, it turns out, it can't.
The Times recently busted the twentysomething social media star, whose followers number nearly half a million, in an exposé that claimed to prove her photos are fake: Consider that her skyline view from the top of New York City's Rockefeller Center is missing any hint of the Freedom Tower, which was completed four years ago. And missing from her view from India's Taj Mahal are both the scaffolding that currently covers the structure, as well as its massive crowds.
So it seems, Amelia's so-called travel photos are actually merely wonders of the modern world of photo editing.
You'd think followers and gawkers would be royally pissed about being duped — and they are.
One commenter on the Taj Mahal photo noted, ""Come on girl!!! You can't honestly tell us that background is real!!! It's looks like a painting that you're just plopped in the middle of. The Taj Mahal has been covered in scaffolding for several years due to restoration efforts."
Another wrote, "Not a soul around her in a country with a population of over a billion....lol,,,,, FAKE!!"
But plenty of others acknowledge the complexity of "authenticity" in the modern era of social media.
One commenter came to her defense while acknowledging so many nuances of what is essentially a new form of art and expression: "Why is everyone here sooo negative? Instead of saying that she 'faked' the photos, I'd rather to take the alterations she has done as a form of art. I've been in Taj Mahal too and I fully agree that a photo like this wouldn't have been possible without editing, but try to see it from a positive point of view: did she make the scenery bad? no. Did she make people losing interest on Taj Mahal? no. Do other photographers publish pictures in magazines without alterations? no. Is there any written rule that a youtuber should post unedited photos? No. Leave her alone if you don't agree to her editings."
Amelia is hardly the first blogger to spark outrage, controversy — and even widespread soul searching — with a dubious travel Instagram feed: Consider the travel Instagrammer who copied another influencer's images at sites around the world — and got busted, too.
Jet Set is Bravo's launch pad for the most extravagant, luxurious, and unforgettable travel experiences. Ready for takeoff? Then Like us on Facebook to stay connected to our daily updates.