Tag Archives: Instagram

Quebec Women Charged in Massive Coke Smuggling Bust Documented Whole Trip on Instagram

The two Quebec women facing life in prison in Australia after police found more than $30 million worth of cocaine in their suitcases looked like they were having the time of their lives on the way there.

Melina Roberge and Isabelle Lagace, both in their 20s, spent the last two months on the MS Sea Princess, a massive luxury cruise that takes 2,000 passengers on numerous stops from Southampton in the UK to Sydney, Australia. Tickets for the cruise cost $20,000 each.

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Nepalis turn to social media for post-quake tourism

Nepali tourist businesses get holidaymakers to promote country still suffering from impact of earthquake.

With their businesses left struggling by devastating earthquakes in April and May, Nepal’s tour operators have turned to social media in a bid to attract tourists.

Inspired by a campaign in Tunisia that urged tourists to visit the country after a terrorist attack on the Bardo Museum in March,

Raj Gyawali, the founder director of Social Tours in Kathmandu, asked tourists in Nepal or those planning to visit the country to post photos on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram.

Soon Facebook, Twitter and Instagram began to be flooded with photos holding placards saying ‘”I am in Nepal now” or “I am going to Nepal” and hashtags such as #stillNepal, #stillsmiling.

“We started with a few tourists in [Kathmandu’s tourist district] Thamel asking them to support our campaign. Until now, the photos have reached 500,000 people and more than 2,000 have shared it,” Gyawali told Anadolu Agency.

“As tour operators we felt the urgency. If we didn’t market our tourism products, if we didn’t request people to come, who will?” Gyawali said. In May, he and other tourism entrepreneurs set up a Facebook page called “Nepal Tourism Recovery: Strategy and Action” to help the sector’s recovery.

Since then, the group has met in Kathmandu every Wednesday and proposed strategies to help the tourism sector bounce back from the catastrophe.

The group’s activities include an online photobook of tourist sites after the disaster and a website assessing the earthquake’s damage on hotels in Kathmandu.

The group, which has now grown into a 2,000 member forum, hasn’t confined itself to social media. It has its own travel advisory website for prospective tourists, including telling them whether or not ATMs are working, lists of the safest hotels and whether an area is affected by looting.

“The international media highlighted only the devastation and never covered areas that were intact. But that’s their business and we can’t do anything about it. So our attempt has been to build confidence in Nepal and spread the word that we are ready to welcome our guests,” said Gyawali.

Tourism contributes 7 percent to the country’s gross domestic product and employs roughly 500,000 people both directly and indirectly.

Last week, the U.S., U.K. and New Zealand lifted travel restrictions for their citizens, although the British Foreign Office continues to warn of “a general threat from terrorism” in Nepal.

Nepal’s government, with assistance from a British aid group, has commissioned a report from foreign experts to assess the trekking routes in the Annapurna and Everest regions.

“Apart from Langtang, Rolwaling and Manaslu, we do not see much of a problem in other trails such as the Everest Base Camp Trek,” Erwin Scheibert, a Swiss geologist, who assessed the routes in the affected areas, was quoted as saying in a press statement.

Nepal’s other tourist destinations undamaged by the quakes include Pokhara, a popular resort town in the shadow of Annapurna, the world’s tenth highest mountain, and Chitwan National Park, home to endangered Royal Bengal tiger and one-horned rhinoceros.

New Instagram Collage App Lets You Take Wild Mirrored Shots

Instagram’s new collage app, Layout, lets you take neat mirrored shots. INSTAGRAM Gallery Image

INSTAGRAM’S LAST STANDALONE app, Hyperlapse, made it possible to take striking steadicam-style videos on your smartphone. It was an awesome creative tool and an impressive technical achievement.

So it would be understandable to be a little bit, well, underwhelmed to hear that the latest creation to emerge from the Instagram laboratory is… an app for making photo collages. Thankfully, it’s cooler than it sounds.

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In addition to the usual collage stuff. INSTAGRAMGallery Image

Layout, available today for the iPhone, lets you painlessly arrange smartphone shots in all sorts of configurations. It’s far from the first app to do this, but a handful of thoughtful details make it especially easy to use.

Beyond those, it has some novel features, like the ability to flip images within compositions to create surreal mirrored shots, that make it an interesting creative tool in its own right.

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Its UI makes it easy to experiment with how photos are arranged. INSTAGRAM Gallery Image

Why build a collage app in the first place? For one thing, they’re popular. According to Instagram, one in five users already stitch photos together with some application of the sort.

There’s something satisfying about packing small things snugly into boxes, something any fan of the Container Store knows well.

As Instagram’s designers saw it, though, existing collage apps left room for improvement.

For example, upon launching these apps typically give you a slew of grids to choose from. Layout displays your pictures right away instead.

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And by stripping out the borders between the individual photos, you can come up with some neat effects. INSTAGRAM Gallery Image

This decision was based on a simple insight: People want to pick photos and experiment with different ways to combine them, rather than being forced to pick a grid and and then shoehorn pictures into it.

The app further facilitates quick experimentation with a split-screen design, which lets you you swap photos, resize them, and adjust your composition without jumping through a bunch of different menus.

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You don’t need an Instagram account to use it. INSTAGRAM Gallery Image

The app doesn’t let you put borders around individual photos within a composition—a choice made in the name of a cleaner-looking final product.

As one of the app’s designers explained, they wanted to avoid the “scrapbook-y” look that some kitschier collage apps embrace.

You can post your compositions to Instagram or Facebook, or just save them to your camera roll; you don’t need an Instagram account to use the app.

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Layout’s workflow is nice and speedy, but more interesting are the new types of collages it encourages users to explore.

The coolest is the mirrored shot. By placing two copies of the same image in the frame and flipping one of them, you can create seamless psychedelic portraits, dreamlike landscapes, and all manner of other kaleidoscopic compositions.

The app’s other neat feature is called photo booth. It takes four pictures in rapid succession and automatically stitches them together.

Looks like Interstellar! INSTAGRAM Gallery Image

The result is a different type of collage than we’re used to seeing, one that’s more about condensing time than simply reorganizing space. It hints at a story within a single frame.

The photo booth feature is also noteworthy in that it asks users to think of Layout as a place you go to create new images, not just an app you use to process ones you’ve already taken.

The mirror effect, too, will likely produce its best results when shots are planned ahead of time. It amounts to something a little more ambitious than a typical photo collage app.

While its main utility may be packing pictures into tidy little boxes, Layout also brings a few new prompts for thinking about mobile photography, and that’s never a bad thing.

Kim Kardashian allegedly spends $100,000 a year to employ a ‘professional selfie retoucher’

A new OK! magazine exclusive story alleges Kim Kardashian is spending $100,000 to keep a professional photo retoucher on call to perfect the selfies she posts to Instagram.


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Is this the first leaked Instagram from the Obama family?


An alleged photo of Malia Obama was published on Instagram, according to multiple news sources. Who published the image, and when and where they did it remains unclear.

The young woman in the photograph wears a t-shirt repping Pro Era, a Brooklyn-based rap collective featuring Joey Bada$$, Kirk Knight, CJ Fly and many others, and looks strikingly like the First Daughter.

Besides being fantastic promotion for Pro Era, the photo may be the first leaked Instagram image from the Obama family, whose social media presence is otherwise meticulously maintained and sterilized by social strategy professionals.

In a 2013 interview with Barbara Walters on 20/20, First Lady Michelle Obama commented on why Malia had limited access to Facebook, and her younger daughter Sasha wasn’t allowed access at all:

“I still am not a big believer in Facebook for young people … particularly for them, because they’re in the public eye,” the first lady said. “Some of it’s stuff they don’t need to see and be a part of … So we try to protect them from too much of the public voice.”

I never considered how the two Obama children, having zero public social media presence, are so unlike normal children their age. It’s tempting to overthink every element of the photograph:

Who took this photo? Why’d they take it? Is the filter Mayfair or Earlybird? And then I realize these are the questions I’d ask about a normal Instagram photo. But this isn’t a normal photo.

The Obama family’s absence from the normal people internet makes this otherwise typical teenage photo feel both precious and disorienting. As a civilian, I like to see any photograph that humanizes the family running the country.

But I also feel guilty, like this is an invasion of a teenager’s privacy, even though I know Malia Obama is technically a public figure, and there’s nothing particularly provocative about this image.


But consider this: just because the Obama family doesn’t exist publicly on social media doesn’t mean they aren’t still living an otherwise typical digital life.

They’re almost certainly still taking family photos and private selfies that live quietly on disconnected hard drives, waiting to be exhumed by themselves, or strangely, some historian that hasn’t been born yet.

In 100 years, someone will publish a book of historic, private photos from within the White House of 2015, and they’ll be tiny, low-resolution squares that looked like they were shot in 1970, because Malia or Barack made the mistake of using X-Pro II.

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