TIME viral

This U.S. Student’s Sneak Peeks of Her Enchanted Life at Cambridge University Have Got Her 300,000 Instagram Followers

“In the States we don’t have castles"

Caroline Calloway is living a privileged life and getting a huge following on Instagram in the process.

The 23-year-old New Yorker is currently studying art history at the prestigious Cambridge University in Britain, and her awestruck musings about the iconic institution, coupled with photographs of her experiences there, have captured the imaginations of over 302,000 people on the photo-sharing social network.

“I love Cambridge so much, in the evangelical way only an immigrant can,” one of her posts reads. “In the States we don’t have castles – it’s literally like if one part of one old building in Cambridge was transplanted to America it would be our greatest national treasure.”

Much like Ring Pops and disposable razors, memories deteriorate with use. It’s science. According to a study by Northwestern University, every time we access a memory we tamper with it, editing the past with our feelings in the present. Or to put it like this: the only way to preserve our most precious memories is to forget them. Sometimes I worry that I’ve revisited my first weeks at Cambridge so often that the real story is too damaged to tell with accuracy—that something about the star-struck, devastated, bewildered way I felt when I arrived has been permanently paved over. I know now, for example, that Oscar and I will end up dating. We will spend Valentine’s Day in Paris and weekends at castles and untold hours of our lives watching movies on laptops. Cambridge will not always be a beautiful but hellish maze. I will, eventually, learn the street names; the college names; where to buy falafel at 3 AM (Gardies). I will even become friends with Josh after many upbeat and infrequent lunches in Manhattan. Once—and only once—Josh will say the name Oscar by mistake. “George,” I will correct him quickly. “The royal baby’s name is George.” But in the moment that this photo happened I couldn’t have imagined what was to come. And in fact, at this moment now, it’s hard for me to imagine how this photo felt. During the past week I’ve asked so many friends (spoiler alert: I make friends) what Cambridge was like at first and they all say it was a whirlwind. They cite Bambi-like awe. And sure, I get it. But when I look at this photo I see a staged kind of fun. Where is my jacket? Did I throw it out of frame, but keep the champagne? Why am I looking off into the distance? I had definitely asked for this photo to be taken. What I’m trying to say is that wonder can often run parallel to loneliness. And while the emotional sum of my first weeks at Cambridge would eventually add up to happiness, this photo was probably not the extraordinary moment it looks like. Sneaking past the porters wasn’t actually that hard. Conversation that afternoon with Oscar lulled. Things were real. And they would only get surreal-er. To Be Continued… #adventuregrams

A photo posted by Caroline Calloway (@carolinecalloway) on

And Calloway likes the castles. A lot. “But here’s the crazy thing about Cambridge. There’s not just one castle,” she writes. “There’s not even ten castles. Cambridge is a city of castles.”

Oscar’s note was kind but to the point: “I’m sorry I wasn’t here when you woke up, but I have polo practice at 13:00. Would you like to come to John’s formal tonight? Text me. O” John? I thought. Who the hell is John? But I got out of bed anyways and began rifling through my half-packed suitcases for a charger—I didn’t have to check my phone it to know it would be dead. Like winning an Olympic gold medal or owning a lock of James Franco’s hair, listening to Harry Potter audiobooks on repeat all night has a price. And that price is determination. Dedication, Sometimes bitcoin. I dumped the contents of two carry-ons next to my open suitcases and studied the floor. Although I had had over an hour to unpack yesterday between lunch and Oscar’s knock, I had focused on making my dorm-room feel like home rather than actually moving in. Which meant that instead of putting socks away in drawers, I had spent the hour tacking up vintage maps of Greenwich Village, photos of Washington Square Park in the snow, bunting made from mini-British flags. From the waist up my room looked like a cheerful teenage sit-com set, the bedroom of a girl from New York very obviously abroad. From the waist down it looked like the murder scene of a mime. At some point over the summer I had also decided sort of inexplicably that Cambridge students dress like mournful 18th century school-children and had packed only my most boring, most monochrome clothes. I found my charger under a black turtleneck and a multi-volume biography about Cézanne. However, it turned out that I still had neither UK adapter nor cell service. Yesterday had been so skewed by break-up-related anxieties I hadn’t even given much thought to my Precious I mean iPhone. But today I felt much clearer, lighter, eager to check Instagram. I threw on a black turtleneck, black boots, and my mini-skirt from yesterday and set off into town. To Be Continued @din_fru #adventuregrams PS – Meanwhile IRL Oscar and I are at his house in Sweden, meeting the fam. So if you like hearing the story of how we met last fall on Instagram, check out my Facebook page! I post new photos every day! Link is in my bio 👘🐘🍧🎉

A photo posted by Caroline Calloway (@carolinecalloway) on

She also loves the fine dining and the zillion pieces of cutlery she’s apparently still figuring out how to use.

I say it all the time about appetizers and only appetizers—it’s not the size that counts. It’s the way they’re served in wizardly castles. But before we get any deeper into the oblique Harry Potter references, I feel obligated clarify Cambridge University isn’t Hogwarts. There’s no House Cup, for example, and the university has many more than one Hall and only a few of them Great. Also I’m a lot smarter and better at magic than Hermione, so as you can see the comparison has its flaws. But when the gong rung out and a hundred black-robed students got to their feet, Oscar whispered, “Look at the High Table,” and I half-expected him to point out our new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher or to make an observation like “McGonagall’s missing,” which would later be a clue. However, part of growing up is learning that not all school years can have the narrative arch of The Half-Blood Prince. And so while a student read grace in Latin, a group of professors processed solemnly in and sat down at a table surrounded by oil paintings in large gilt frames. Grace ended and we sat down. With military precision, a fleet of waiters in tuxedo-like uniforms swept into the Great Hall and began serving appetizers and white wine because, YES. Fellow Americans, you heard that right: In England, colleges don’t get you in trouble for drinking, THEY PROVIDE THE BOOZE. And not just any old Natty Light, as the menus scattered around the table explained. This was a vintage Pinot Grigio selected by the chef to complement the sweetness of the pickled peaches in tonight’s goat cheese salad as well as the tartness of the homemade raspberry compote—one of three courses being served tonight, each with its own pairing of wine. As I stared at the three forks, two knives, and one spoon in front of me, I leaned over to Oscar and asked, “Is dinner in the cafeteria always like this?” He grinned. “Welcome to Cambridge, Miss Calloway." It wasn't Hogwarts, but it would do. To Be Continued @din_fru #adventuregrams PS – If you like reading my stories about last fall on Instagram, then get ready for what’s happening in real time on Facebook! Link is in my Insta bio, loved ones 🎈

A photo posted by Caroline Calloway (@carolinecalloway) on

And the halls where that food and wine (yes, wine, as an American she’s thrilled to find out her college actually provides alcohol to students) is served, as well as much of the rest of Cambridge, have her constantly making Harry Potter analogies. To be fair, they do have to wear robes, and there’s an admittedly photoshopped picture of her best friend who kind of looks like a member of the Weasley family.

Of all that Harry, Hermione, and—let’s be real, Ron—Hedwig has done for me, one of the most important was that seeing Oscar in black robes made an effective distraction. “Ohmygod.” I said sitting up bed, mascara-stained Kleenexes fluttering to the floor. I shut my laptop that had been mournful acoustic music on loop. “You’re Draco.” Now before I tell you how Oscar responded: a quick confession. Of the gazillion boys I’ve dated (fine, three), none has ever read Harry Potter. Which is a problem only ALWAYS, but that’s love, you guys. It makes you dizzy, short-of-breath, tired… No, wait. That’s asthma. Love makes you blind. Like a giant torture device that gauges out both your—nope, nope. That’s not it. Love IS blind. Blind like Aragog. (Google it, ex-boyfriends.) The point is that we must neither hold it against Oscar that he replied to my Draco comment with, “I’m Oscar,” nor that he understood my emotional 180 not at all. Without even acknowledging his concerned glances towards my vase full of red wine, I leapt out of bed saying, “Ten minutes and I’ll be ready.” “Lovely,” he replied, snapping his gaze up from the floor. “Do you need to borrow robes or— ” I pointed to the Ryder and Amies bag in the corner.“Black Undergraduate Robes? Check. AWWW YEA, CAMBRIDGE.” Oscar responded to the gang signs I threw at him with a curt bow and said, “Right then. Meet you outside in ten, Miss Calloway. As we walked through castles (!) into something called The Great Hall (!!) and sat down at a long table crowded with more students in black robes (!!!), Oscar slid a piece of crumpled paper into my hands. “Hold on to this. It’s your ticket for tonight.” It was also as close to a letter from Hogwarts as I would ever get and perhaps the only thing the books could never give me. Suddenly a gong rung out and everyone stoop up. To Be Continued @din_fru #adventuregrams PS – If you like reading my stories about last fall on Instagram, then come join the Facebook party! I'm talking vodka shots. Sing-alongs. Swedish Harvard. (Facebook friends you know what I'm talking about😉) Link is in my bio, loved ones🐒🌸🎉

A photo posted by Caroline Calloway (@carolinecalloway) on

My own mother once said it’s a miracle I wasn’t lured into a paneled van as a child and, quite frankly, I agree. The only thing I love more than free candy is talking to strangers and I’ve never been good at playing hard to get. Not with boys. Not with kidnappers. Not even when it comes to playing tag. But my golden-retriever friendliness was extra apparent the afternoon I met my future best friend, Maria. But now I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start where we left off, surrounded by Cambridge University’s most beautiful people, all of whom clearly belonged in Lecture Room 2 but me. As I tried to stay a mini anxiety attack by taking notes, Professor Massing paced merrily behind the lectern, offering advice that seemed as applicable to Art History as cattle ranching in Texas or how not to survive a tsunami. “Never be afraid to get closer.” “Take zee time to question your instincts.” “I recommend zat first you become fluent een Spanish.” I wrote down everything, complete with his quirky pan-European accent. But savvy Instagram blogger that I am, what I didn’t record with either or pictures or notes was when Professor Massing excused us for lunch and Maria and I found ourselves shuffling side by side to the door and walking into town. However I’ve photo-shopped a dramatic reenactment that turned out, in a way, even more accurate than what happened. Of course IRL we weren’t in ball gowns, but my facial expression and weird grip on Maria’s neck is spot-on in terms of what I restrained myself from doing at the time. Had there been a camera, 100% chance I would’ve looked into like so and announced my intentions like a villain: Maria and I WILL be best friends. Instead I said this to Maria, who laughed. “Let’s,” she said in her proper British accent. “Let’s be best friends.” It was one of the luckiest things that would happen during my first year Cambridge and not just because Maria didn’t own a paneled van. To Be Continued @mariacreech #adventuregrams PS – If you like reading my stories about last fall in Cambridge, check out what's happening today in real time on Facebook! Link is in my Insta bio, loved ones! 🎨🐘🎈

A photo posted by Caroline Calloway (@carolinecalloway) on

And some of her photos can’t be called anything but magical.

The phrase ‘long story short’—much like super powers and kazoos—is difficult to use responsibly. For example: “Well, Sue and I had breakfast on the patio, went to yoga, and long story short I am no longer welcome in Mexico.” And so as I fast-forward our story from dinner-time to the next morning I’ll try not to narrate too jerkily, although the speed of the story isn’t entirely up to me. You see, there’s a gap in my iPhotos Library that lasts from when the appetizers were served till when I woke up at the crack of 10 AM and is, coincidentally, exactly the size of the hole in my heart. Or as I explained to the waiter who confiscated my iPhone in the Great Hall, no amount of pictures from the Internet will ever bring back the memories I could’ve grammed. But apparently taking photos at formal dinners is “against Cambridge rules” and the waiter had already asked me to stop “four times.” And so the full account of my second non-date with Oscar will have to wait for my book. Which no one has agreed to publish yet, but optimism. By the time dinner was over I was drunk. Not Jersey-Shore-bad-decisions drunk, but on a scale of 1 to actual baby-like wonder, I was a solid “Is it just me or are trees, like, better in England?” I also asked Oscar a lot of the questions that I had felt like too much of a fresher to bring up earlier and got some much needed answers regarding when to wear robes (dinners, ceremonies, never to class) and a crash course on Cambridge slang (“John’s formal” = formal dinner at the college called St John’s). It was these sort of practical night-before-the-first-day-of-school things that we talked about as we wound our way back through dark castles and even darker gardens to our dorm. And as we stepped into the elevator I was lost in thought about what Oscar had just said about checking out library books, so you can imagine how surprised I was, long story short, when he leaned in to kiss me. To Be Continued @din_fru #adventuregrams PS – If you like reading about last fall on Instagram, come see what Oscar and I are up to nowadays on Facebook! Link is in my Insta-bio, loved ones👊🌟✨

A photo posted by Caroline Calloway (@carolinecalloway) on

Before I say what I’m going to say next, it’s important to remember that on that autumn afternoon with Oscar and the weeping willow, I was still very much in love with Josh. And so when Oscar said, “And that’s where I kissed this American girl…” I didn’t fire back with a flirty quip or laugh it off with the non-deranged human-laughter I reserve for just such occasions. Instead I stopped in the middle of the beautiful, stone, willow-ringed bridge and said flatly, “Oscar. I just broke up with my boyfriend.” He was unphased. “Miss Calloway, if you wanted me to know you were single—” “No,” I said more urgently. “You don’t understand. We, like, JUST broke up. Like, ten hours ago.” For a moment we were both silent. Oscar leaned forward on his elbows against the bridge and looked out at the river and the other bridges beyond. Without turning his head he said simply, slowly, “I’m sorry.” I sighed and leaned against the bridge as well, careful to leave a space between his shoulder and mine. “I still really love him, you know. Josh. After Cambridge I’m going to move back to New York and we’ll be together again, forever.” A group of students in black robes walked by talking animatedly about a professor in a variety of accents. Once it was quiet again Oscar rolled towards me so that his back was facing the river and our shoulders were touching. I stared straight ahead. “Those plans never work,” he said matter-of-factly. “But… I hope for your sake that you get what you want.” “Thank you.” I said primly. “And what I want is Josh.” “Aha!” He cried suddenly, striding away from the bridge with renewed confidence. “That’s what you THINK you want! But you don’t know anything about me yet.” He flashed a smile over his shoulder and gestured towards the riverbank. “Come. Sit. Let’s see how quickly I can change your mind.” To Be Continued @din_fru #adventuregrams PS – Meanwhile IRL… Oscar is building his little sister a raft today! The photos are all on my Facebook page! Link is in my bio, you know the drill 🐘🍍☎️

A photo posted by Caroline Calloway (@carolinecalloway) on

Calloway is now writing a book about the life of Cambridge students, the Cambridge News reports, and plans to release a collection of essays (with pictures, of course) in 2016.

In the meantime, check out her amazing fairytale life on her Instagram page.

Read next: Education Does Not Make You a Happier Person

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME apps

These Are the 5 Best iPhone Apps of the Week

Try Instagram's new collage-making app, Layout

It seems like hundreds of new iPhone apps pop up every week, but which ones should you bother trying? We explored the App Store and found some apps actually worth downloading.

Layout from Instagram

Some clever folks over at Instagram realized they weren’t doing enough to help users make collages or photo montages right in the app, seceding those functions to a plethora of third-party apps. Enter Layout, which lets you tinker with your photos by putting them in a collage or mirror-flipping them for a variety of clever effects. You can then share the results on Instagram or anywhere else on the web.

Layout from Instagram is free in the App Store


If you’re looking for a far more sophisticated photo-editing app, then PICSPLAY 2 is a necessary download. The app is packed with high-quality editing tools optimized for mobile use. That means you’ll find tools that aren’t only pared down for smaller screens, but ones that work well via swipes rather than needing super-careful fingertip placements to operate. You can completely change a way a photo looks—adjust color, burn parts of the image, eliminate elements, resize and more. It takes some getting used to, but it’s worth learning.

PICSPLAY 2 is free in the App Store

Atari Fit

It’s hard to tell which is the more appealing part of this app: that it offers you new exercises to include in your daily routine, or that it’s a gateway to the old school Atari games that you probably miss dearly. As you complete exercises, you earn experience points which then unlock different Atari games. Working out is just a small price to pay for access to the library of some of the greatest games of all time.

Atari Fit is free in the App Store

Adobe Fill & Sign

It’s total madness that in 2015 there are still moments when employers or landlords want you to fax documents — you might as well send files by carrier pigeon. Bring yourself into the digital age with Adobe Fill & Sign, which lets you scan paper documents or import files from your email inbox to fill out in the app. The files can then be sent electronically or, if you must, printed for snail mail.

Adobe Fill & Sign is free in the App Store

Star Wars™: Card Trader

It’s hard not to be excited for the next Star Wars film — but for those of us eagerly awaiting December 18, this cheesy trading card app can tide you over nicely. The app brings back Star Wars trading cards in digital form, letting you collect your favorite characters and swap with friends. It reminds me of my younger days finding Star Wars pogs in bags of Doritos, which is a level of excitement nobody should miss out on.

Star Wars™: Card Trader is free in the App Store

TIME celebrities

Justin Bieber Introduces New Puppy on Instagram

The photo features a small black and brown dog cradled in his lap

Justin Bieber is recovering from his Comedy Central roast with a little puppy love.

The singer, 21, introduced his latest four-legged pal Sunday night on Instagram.

“Say hello to the newest member of the bieber family #Esther,” he wrote in the post, which features a photo of a small black and brown dog cradled in his lap.

Today is randomly national puppy day

A photo posted by Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) on


Speaking of laps, Bieber was recently spotted getting cuddly with model Ashley Moore at a basketball game, but it appears Esther is the only confirmed love in the star’s life right now.

This is Bieber’s first furry addition following the passing of his family dog Sammy in December. In a throwback Instagram post remembering Sammy, Bieber called the dog “the best puppy ever.”

R.i.p Sammy 😪😢😢 you were the best puppy ever

A photo posted by Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) on


This article originally appeared on People.com.

TIME apps

Instagram’s New ‘Layout’ App Makes it Easy to Create Photo Collages

The new app is Instagram's second standalone product

Instagram is taking a page out of Facebook’s playbook by launching a standalone app that makes it easier to create collages from your favorite photos.

Layout, which launches Monday for Apple’s iOS, comes after the Facebook-owned Instagram found that one in five of its monthly active users were sharing images that combined multiple photos using third-party tools. That represents more than 60 million Instagram users turning to other companies’ software to create these collages.

While Instagram’s first stand-alone app, Hyperlapse, was the brainchild of two of the company’s software engineers, work on Layout started with a top-down decision from Instagram CEO and co-founder Kevin Systrom. Systrom felt the process of creating collages was too fragmented: Before Layout, users had to use multiple apps, save various versions of images on iPhones’ camera roll, then open the Instagram app to post the results.

With Layout, Instagram sought to make the process as straightforward as possible. When you first open the app, you’re greeted with your camera roll images and the option to sort your photos by most recent. But since 90% of all collage images shared on Instagram are of people, the company tells TIME, Layout also offers a “Faces” option, which instantly brings together all of the portraits available in your photo library.

Instagram’s “Layout”

Once you start selecting images – you can work with up to nine of your photographs at a time – you’re offered a choice of layout options from the traditional horizontal and vertical diptychs all the way to a seamless square grid of nine.

What distinguishes Layout from other collage apps is the complete absence of border options, which Instagram says was a conscious choice, especially since it’s encouraging users to experiment with symmetry effects to create out-of-this-world images. And that’s where the mirror and flip options come in, which, combined with the ability to zoom in and out of each element of your collage, can result in more creative images.

Once you’ve finally tweaked your collage, you’re offered the choice to share it directly on Instagram and Facebook, or to open it in another app.

Without a doubt, Layout’s simplicity – both in its ease of use and the small number of available editing options – will make this app popular among selfie aficionados, a fact from which Instagram doesn’t shy away. Layout even includes a predominant “Photo Booth” mode that will take up to four photos using your iPhone’s front-facing camera and automatically place them into one of 10 available layouts. The feature, says Instagram, is particularly popular in Asia, where the company is looking to grow in the coming months.

In the end, Instagram’s Layout app doesn’t reinvent the wheel, offering little by way of novelty other than a more streamlined collage experience for Instagram’s power users. But that’s all it needs to do: keep Instagram users happy and within the app’s own ecosystem.

TIME technology

See How a Celebrated Photographer Plans to Use Snapchat

Alec Soth, a Minnesota artist, in St. Paul, Minn. on Feb. 24, 2015.
Jenn Ackermann—The New York Times/Redux Alec Soth, a Minnesota artist, in St. Paul, Minn. on Feb. 24, 2015.

Magnum Photos member Alec Soth will share images that disappear after 10 seconds

Alec Soth has, over his years as a photographer, developed a reputation for experimentation within his craft.

In 2010, when he was invited by the Brighton Photo Festival in the U.K. to produce a new series of images about the coastal town, he found himself in an immigration quagmire that kept him from shooting any photographs. Instead, he gave the camera to his daughter, who produced the images for him.

Now, his latest experiment is once again linked to his relationship with his daughter, now a teenager and an avid user of the photo-sharing app Snapchat.

“Like a lot of middle-aged people I didn’t have a clue as to what Snapchat was about,” Soth tells TIME. “I heard about that sexting stereotype, and I just didn’t understand it.”

But Soth remembered that he felt the same way when Twitter launched in 2006 and gained popularity in 2010, and with Instagram when it took the world of photography by storm. “I was very anti-Instagram for a long time,” he says. “And then the pressure to get into it became too strong. That’s when I realized that it was fascinating.”

With Snapchat, where any images and videos shared disappear forever after 10 seconds, Soth was curious to explore how it had become a communication platform for his daughter and many of her peers. “My experience on Snapchat is very different to my experience on Instagram,” he says. “Snapchat seems best suited for direct communication, and because I’m a middle-aged man, it was hard to use in that way. I didn’t have friends on it.”

But, as he started testing the service, he felt a sense of liberation, he tells TIME. “On Instagram, I’m identified as a photographer, so I felt this pressure that I’m supposed to make photographs, serious photographs. With Snapchat, I felt kind of relieved that I could be like anyone else and show glimpses of my life.”

“There’s this desire to do that, to share fleeting moments of one’s life,” he continues. “People mock this: why photograph your breakfast. But I don’t put it down. It’s an impulse, and I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad one. It fundamentally doesn’t seem different from an art impulse.”

Now, Soth is taking it one step further. He’s partnered with the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minn., as part of the cultural institution’s Intangibles pop-up shop, which sells original and curated art works.

For $100, visitors can buy an interactive Snapchat conversation with Soth. “The idea is that they will get a minimum of 25 pictures from me,” he says. “Ideally, I’ll see it as a conversation: What do you want me to photograph?” The goal, Soth explains, is to talk with pictures, similarly to what his daughter already does with her friends on Snapchat.

Once the conversation is over, the Walker Art Center will interview the buyers and “publish a non-visual documentation of their experience,” the Center says.

The work, called Disappear With Me, has already sold out.

For Soth, the experiment is about his own curiosity, he says. “I’m just trying to figure out how this works, learn from it, and see where technology goes from there.”

As for his daughter, she finds the experiment ridiculous, Soth says. “Just yesterday my daughter found out about this. She thought it was the most absurd thing in the world that someone would pay money [for images that disappear]. She said, Maybe if you’re Ariana Grande. But, otherwise, why on Earth?”

Alec Soth is a photographer born and based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is represented by Magnum Photos.

Olivier Laurent is the editor of TIME LightBox. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @olivierclaurent

TIME On Our Radar

Nine Irish Photographers You Need to Follow

The country is emerging as a photography powerhouse

It is said, often with tongue firmly in cheek, that while Ireland produces literature and theater that punches well above its weight, the nation rarely makes it to the ring when it comes to the visual arts. In polite Dublin circles, explanations are occasionally wheeled out: as a traditionally oral, storytelling culture, the word usually gets precedence over the image; that as the country emerged from British rule, it shirked some forms of visual experimentation, seeing them as bourgeois.

Others have challenged this apparent orthodoxy — like writer Justin Carville — pointing to the country’s rich, if sometimes forgotten, homegrown visual and photographic history — one that exists outside images of green hills etched in the minds of tourists.

“There is definitely a massive, well-informed arts scene here in terms of artists and curators,” says Angel Luis Gonzalez Fernandez, founder and director of the annual Photo Ireland festival. “But photography, perhaps, has been considered the little sister of the arts until recently.”

“Things are changing quickly,” he adds. “Since the 1980s, photographers here have helped develop university programs in photography, which has, in turn, helped generate young practitioners. Now there is a more dynamic scene — it’s almost like a kind of harvest period.”

Indeed, photographers such as Richard Mosse — who received widespread acclaim for his powerful infrared work from the Democratic Republic of Congo — have thrust Irish photography onto the global stage. With that in mind, and to celebrate St Patrick’s Day, TIME presents its choice of the most exciting Irish photographers working today.

Ross McDonnell (Dublin, 1979) As anti-government protests escalated in Kiev, Ukraine in early 2014, Dubliner Ross McDonnell was on the front line producing stirring documentary photography. His view through a smashed bus window in the capital gave readers a sublime, otherworldly view of the unrest and was later chosen by TIME as one of the top 10 photographs of 2014. McDonnell, who also works as a cinematographer and documentary filmmaker, produces rich, cinema-like still images while seeming to direct photographically inspired video.

Kim Haughton (Dublin, 1974) A multi-award winning photographer, Dublin-born Haughton’s work is at once sparse and textured. Her Shadowlands series documented the nation’s ghost estates — housing subdivisions left unfinished after the country’s economic crash in 2008 — and became a visual byword for its post-boom years. An image from the series was chosen by the Guardian as one of only 11 representing history of Europe from 1945 to 2011 and TIME recently featured her haunting work documenting the sites where child abuse took place throughout the country.

Lorcan Finnegan (Dublin, 1979) A seasoned photographer, motion designer, editor and film director, Finnegan worked for British journalist and commentator Charlie Brooker‘s production company for several years. Now, with a love for the gnarlier side of life, he takes to the streets of Dublin with his cellphone in search of the delightfully off-beat. His popular Instagram account often sees him turn his lens on elderly men and women making their way around the city’s markets — giving us a view of the capital that most tourists, and indeed most locals, hardly ever see. Finnegan published a selection of his mobile photography in his first book GRANNYFASHION in 2014.

Rich Gilligan (Dublin, 1981) In Rituals, Gilligan captures life in Dublin’s inner city and in the expansive outer suburb of Ballymun. Famous for its soaring tower blocks, Ballymun was often seen as the jewel in the crown of failed government social housing experiments before it got a complete overhaul in the mid-to-late 2000s. Here, Gilligan masterfully documents the quotidian in these marginalized communities, his lens bringing both warmth and affection to places often avoided by the city’s po-faced middle class. Gilligan has worked as a contributing photographer for magazines like I-D and Nylon and TIME recently featured his work on homemade skateparks.

Anthony Haughey (Armagh, 1963) Haughey is perhaps one of Ireland’s best-known photographers. A lecturer and PhD supervisor in one of the country’s most prominent photography courses, his powerful, moving work deals with issues arising in conflict and border areas. His series Aftermath discusses the effects of the Northern Irish conflict on the border county of Louth in the Republic of Ireland. Excavation, a film he made in Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide, is currently on show in Limerick, Ireland.

Shannon Guerrico (Paris, 1983) Irish-Argentinian Guerrico is a fine art photographer based in Lausanne, Switzerland. Her work has been exhibited in Ireland, France and many other countries. She often uses existing paintings or illustrations as a jumping off point for her art, with many being photographs of illustrations which are later altered. Her body of work, which ranges from beautiful scientific-seeming still life images to intriguing portraits of what look like dissected body parts, is perhaps unified by her problematizing of the subjects before her lens: very often we are not sure what we are looking at.

Niall O’Brien (Dublin, 1979) O’Brien’s series Porn Hurts Everyone, like much of his work, is infused with a dreamy suburban languidness. Here, teenagers and twenty-somethings seem immersed in a largely parent-free world, one in which adults sometimes feature as wacky fringe elements or, in his others series, as anonymous disciplinarians. Born and educated in the Irish capital but resident in London, the photographer has an eye for Americana, which he captures with care — he often spends years curating his own projects — and with a clear respect for his subjects.

Kieran Doherty (Dover, 1968) Doherty, who spent years working as a Reuters wire photographer, has covered everything from the conflict in Northern Ireland to the immediate aftermath of the 2003 Iraq war and from the Olympic Games to the Wimbledon Championships. He bagged first place in the sports stories category at World Press Photo this year for the series Ground Pass Holders — a title referring to a sort of steerage-level ticket for Wimbledon that only allows holders to walk through the alleys between the main tennis courts. The images are a warm, playful side look at an event that Doherty himself covered in a straight-up fashion for years.

Jack Caffrey (Dublin, 1977) A photo editor and photographer for the Irish Farmers Journal, Caffrey’s popular Instagram account is one of Ireland’s most captivating feeds. As beautiful as they are frank, Caffrey’s images show us an Irish capital of bold colors, big skies and quirky ephemera. Caffrey has worked as a press photographer documenting the ever changing landscape of Irish agriculture and he was recently made a contributor for BBC Worldwide’s travel section. His photography will also feature in the World Wildlife Fund Magazine Summer 2015 edition.

Richard Conway is reporter/producer for TIME LightBox

TIME portfolio

How Photography Brought a Father and His Son Back Together

As a documentary photographer, Ian Willms was used to expressing the pain of others through his work, but after his father was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident, his photography took on a different meaning

On Nov. 10, 2014, a motorcycle accident left Ian Willms’ father paralyzed and laying in a South African hospital bed by himself. The Canadian photographer put his life on hold to be by his bedside. On Nov. 28, Willms took to Instagram and posted a black-and-white image of his hand holding his father’s, the first photograph in what has become Willms’ most personal photography project yet. Last month, on TIME LightBox, Willms discussed the impetus behind his photographs. Now, he tells us what he learned from the experience.

Two years ago, my dad picked me up at a Southwest Florida airport at 4am. I was coming in from an assignment and could have taken a taxi, but he insisted on coming to collect me. It wasn’t the first time he’d done something like this. It was his way of showing that he was proud of me. On the way to his house, we sat together in a Denny’s until the horizon began to glow with a faint blue haze. I looked at him over black coffee and fried eggs and he made a proposal: the two of us should go on an epic motorcycle trip across South America.

A burning desire for adventure was something that him and I had in common, but we had never done a major journey together. It seemed like the right thing to do at a time when we were in the process of healing our relationship. We started to make a plan to ride from Columbia to Uruguay in March 2015. I was looking forward to what I knew would be a cathartic moment for us, but tragedy struck and we ended up on a very different road.

In an instant, his motorcycle accident last November changed both our lives forever. When I finally laid eyes upon his battered, comatose body in South Africa, I discovered what it meant to grieve a living man. The strong, independent person that I knew as my father was gone. I wanted to just break down right there and feel that loss, but there were many urgent matters at hand. He was laying in a private hospital and the bills needed to paid immediately. I signed on as the manager of my father’s care and began the process of emptying his bank accounts against enormous debts that grew by the hour. I was completely alone in a place that I knew nothing about, my father was unconscious and no one knew if he would survive.

As the days turned to weeks, I began to feel like a soldier. I would march between my rented room and the hospital for the three designated visiting hours each day. In-between those times, I would argue with bankers and insurance companies, pay medical bills and struggle to manage all the other loose ends in my father’s life. My days were completely dominated by my father’s care. It felt like him and I were both in prison, except he was being held in solitary confinement. I was desperate for a way to express what I was feeling. With my father’s blessing, I began photographing the details of our daily routine and publishing them to Instagram.

The day after spending Christmas with my father and sister in the hospital, I sent an e-mail to my aunt in Canada. It closed with the following:

“It is getting harder for me as the weeks wear on. I feel like I don’t even remember the rest of my life anymore. Like this is all I’ve ever known. It’s just such an all-consuming situation. […] This has been the worst experience of my life, but as my dad told me the other day, it helps you grow up.”

The Intensive Care Unit where my father stayed was very busy. Doctors and nurses ran around, trying desperately to be in two places at once. Many lives came to an end in that room during my father’s stay, but not his. He went into and out of two medically induced comas. The drugs made it difficult for him to distinguish his nightmares from reality. The experience broke him down to the emotional capacity of a scared child. Against all odds, he survived to be repatriated to Germany in early January.

Ian WillmsFlight day. His repatriation to Germany — my victory.

When we reached Cologne, I stayed with my 93-year-old grandmother. The hospital was further away now, so I was only able to visit my father once a day. The daily responsibilities that used to occupy my days were mostly shifted to other people who spoke German. With that extra time on my hands, the weight of my own pain and isolation finally began to manifest itself. I was tired at all hours of the day, yet unable to sleep. My skin broke out into stress rashes. I was irritable and became angry over minor details. My father began to comment on how ragged I looked. He blamed himself for my burnout. I took a photograph of myself in the hospital elevator after leaving his room that night.

When I began making these pictures in South Africa, I was showing a lot of what I was dealing with. There were photos of the hospital, my father and the administrative side of his care. Once we transferred to Germany, my own emotional state became the primary subject of the work. A dark weight grew in my mind with each passing day. The more distance I had from my father’s pain, the more intensely I felt it inside me.

By that time, the photographs had grown into something much more than a visual diary. They had become a pivotal moment for my craft. As a documentary photographer, I was used to expressing the pain of others through my work. Never before had I been so emotionally connected to the subject matter that I was photographing. I did not concern myself with the purpose or meaning behind my photographs. I was acting solely on emotional impulse. If I felt it, I shot it and published it. There was no editor, curator, art director to answer to, except myself. The audience was anyone who cared to watch.

I left Germany on Feb. 28. Being in Toronto seems like what I would expect a soldier feel after returning home from war. I’m always thinking there’s some urgent matter for me to attend to, but I’m supposed to be resting. Since I left, my father has been mostly alone. Before the accident, he always acted tough and independent. Now when we talk, he tells me that he misses me and wishes that I would return. Those conversations leave me feeling sick with guilt. I gave everything I could to help him and he’s still so far from being okay. Everyday, I think about him laying there in that bed; his prison cell. It’s the same haunting image that made me rush to his side in the first place. Now I feel like I’ve left him behind.

My dad and I will never take that motorcycle tour to Uruguay. He’s paralyzed for life and I’ll probably never touch a bike again. We’ve talked about that trip a couple times since his accident. The conversation usually brings him to tears. I remind him that he and I have just shared the most incredible adventure of all: the journey from death to life. My dad has told me a few times that I’m the only reason he’s still living. It’s amazing to think that I saved his life. Especially when I consider how angry I used to be with him when I was younger. I take comfort in knowing that I was motivated through all this by my unconditional love for him. Above everything else, this is the greatest gift I could ever ask for.

Ian Willms is a Canadian photographer and a member of the Boreal Collective. This interview is the second part of a multi-part series on Willms’ We Shall See project. Read part one here.

Olivier Laurent, who edited this photo essay, is the editor of TIME LightBox. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @olivierclaurent

TIME On Our Radar

See How One Photographer Uses Instagram to Bring a Community Together

Matt Eich Portrait of Lil' Mike and his daughter in the Baptist Town neighborhood of Greenwood, Miss. on April 2, 2014.

Photographer Matt Eich's long-term project in Greenwood, Miss., uses Instagram to forge understanding between divided communities

TIME LightBox Follow Friday is a series featuring the work of photographers using Instagram in new, interesting and engaging ways.

This week on #LightBoxFF, TIME speaks to Matt Eich, a freelance photographer based in Norfolk, Va., who uses Instagram to build a bridge between communities in Greenwood, Miss.

TIME LightBox: How did you first use Instagram?

Matt Eich: I actually created my Instagram account while sitting in a doctor’s office with my wife during her second pregnancy. I am a late adapter when it comes to smartphone technology, so this was early 2012 when I began using the platform. Honestly, it was just for fun, and having this new and ubiquitous tool always in my pocket re-energized something in my work.

TIME LightBox: How has your use evolved? How does it fit in your work?

Matt Eich: At first, I focused primarily on family, using Instagram as a sort of public family photo album. Over time I came to realize that it was a platform for engaging people with my work, so I began to make pictures for Instagram while juggling other cameras and tools for personal projects and assignments. It is a way of teasing out some of the long-form projects that are slowly evolving without giving too much away. When juggling multiple tools, I try to think about what the strengths and weaknesses of each are. Sometimes when I’m out working I’ll see something that looks like a Mamiya 7 frame, so I’ll use the 6×7 camera. Sometimes I’ll see something that seems like the iPhone might be better suited for, so I’ll switch over to that tool.


TIME LightBox: What do you think it can bring to a photographer like you?

Matt Eich: What most excites me about a platform like Instagram is the ability to engage with a community. Because the technological playing field is becoming more level, professional photographers using Instagram can serve as a bridge between two parts of a community or begin to engage community members in self-representation instead of the outsider perspective that is all-too-familiar.


For example, when I was working on my project in Greenwood, Miss., I realized that in this less-affluent black community, all of these kids I’ve photographed have smartphones and they’re all on Instagram posting these occasional daily life pictures — images that I don’t shoot. And the same happens in the white community. These folks are living in close proximity of one another with little awareness of the other side of that community. But it’s all there on Instagram, and you just need something to connect the two.


One thing I’ve struggled with is the fact that I’m a white boy from Virginia coming to a place that I don’t really belong in, and projecting my perception onto them. That’s just the sad reality of photography, but these new tools enable us, as storytellers and journalists, to gather content from the people we’re documenting so they can have a larger voice [in the project].


TIME LightBox: So you would play the role of curator.

Matt Eich: Exactly, and I’ve started doing some of that. When I see something on Instagram that I think is strong, I’ll ask them to text it to me so I can build a little archive.


TIME LightBox: Would that collection of images live on Instagram or would it take on a different form?

Matt Eich: Right now, I’m gathering as much content from as many people as I can. I’m taking my cue from the Everyday Africa folks: we started an Everyday Delta (@everydaydelta) feed, and we hope to build on it by bringing in photographers who are working in the area, as well as locals to create a curated mix that will allow people from outside of the Delta to get a more accurate glimpse of the community.


Matt Eich is a freelance photographer based in Norfolk, Va. His long-term project is Sin and Salvation in Baptist Town. Eich is currently holding an Instagram Print Sale to finance the continuation of his work across the Delta. Follow him on Instagram @matteich.

Marisa Schwartz Taylor is an Associate Photo Editor at TIME.com. Follow her on Instagram and twitter.

Olivier Laurent is the editor of TIME LightBox. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @olivierclaurent

TIME Family

Mother of Toddler With Rare Disorder Fights Daughter’s Cyberbullies

The mother says her daughter is "not a monster"

A 2-year-old girl with a rare condition that affects her appearance, learning abilities and motor skills has become the target of Instagram cyber bullies.

Mariah Anderson recently celebrated her second birthday in Summerville, South Carolina, and was all smiles throughout the occasion, reports WCBD. So when the girl’s mother, Kyra Pringle, shared a shot online from her beaming daughter’s big day, she never imagined there would be a negative reaction.

Anderson was born with Chromosome 2p duplication syndrome, a condition that has affected her development and physical appearance. Unfortunately, when some Instagram users saw Pringle’s picture of her daughter, they did not celebrate the toddler, but instead teased her.

Several users posted memes using Pringle’s photo that poked fun at the toddler’s looks, insinuating that Anderson was ugly or resembled a leprechaun. Sick of seeing her baby girl being bullied by online trolls, Pringle decided to speak out against everyone making the memes and those enjoying them.

“The smile that you guys think is funny or the smile that you guys are comparing to a leprechaun,” Pringle told WCBD. “The things you guys are saying about my child, she’s not a monster, she’s real.”

Pringle hopes her words will help put an end to the harassment so she and her family can return to enjoying their time with Anderson which, because of her condition, could be limited.

“She’s just a joy, it’s a joy to have her right now,” said Kyra Pringle.

This article originally appeared on People.com.


How to Turn Your Dog into a Cash Cow

Boo the Pomeranian, named the cutest dog in the world Cutest Dog in the World Flies High
Virginamerica/Rex Features—AP Boo the Pomeranian, named the "cutest dog in the world."

Social media can be big business for pets, too.

Your dog may never make it like the beagle Miss P, winner of the 2015 Westminster Kennel Club’s best in show award, but he or she may still have a shot at becoming a YouTube star or nabbing a modeling contract based on an Instagram photo.

It happened for Tuna, a Chiweenie mix of Chihuahua and dachshund. This unlikely Internet star, found as a stray at a California farmer’s market, has more than a million followers on Instagram because of his cartoonish overbite. A book, The Underdog with the Overbite, goes on sale in two weeks with a list price of $14.95.

At the pinnacle is a dog named Boo, a Pomeranian with 17 million fans on Facebook, multiple books and a line of toys. He even got a deal from Virgin America Inc to be its official “pet liaison.”

To bring in money, you need more than a random clip of your dog doing something funny. It takes an orchestrated campaign to gain enough popularity to merit offers from corporate sponsors, get product placement deals, and move merchandise.

“People who have over half a million followers are getting serious money,” says Katie Sturino, who owns Toast, a King Charles pup with no teeth and a tongue that hangs from her mouth. “The ones who have really broken out are getting a lot.”

Rescued from a puppy mill, Toast has 168,000 followers on Instagram. Sturino says she has been working with companies looking for product placement or endorsements.

Going Viral

What captivates a mass audience and goes viral usually is not a fluke, says Jonah Berger, a marketing professor at the Wharton School of Business and author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On. You need a good story to get started, and then you need a savvy strategy.

“We often look at these videos and think they must be luck or by chance,” Berger says. “Can you guarantee that something will go viral and get millions and millions of page views? No, but you can guarantee it will do better.”

Animal advocate and author Wendy Diamond says the biggest influencers are those who have a following and a personality.

“Your dog either has to have a deformity or a disability or a well-connected parent,” Diamond says.

Boo’s connection is clear. His owner, Irene Ahn, is an executive at Facebook Inc, although she has stayed out of the limelight during her dog’s climb.

But there are other routes to the top.

Jon Huang and his girlfriend, Amber Chavez, got Manny, a French bulldog who was the unwanted runt of the litter, at a half-price discount four years ago.

What started as a way to share photos and videos of their puppy with friends and family exploded in the past couple of years to following of about 796,000 on Facebook and 643,000 on Instagram.

“Basically, I just started posting unique pictures,” says Huang, 37.

After photos of Manny sleeping in a sink went viral, the dog’s popularity started to swell. As the monetary potential became clear, Huang says they made charity a big part of the Manny craze. Team Manny has raised more than $100,000 in the past year.

Manny has deals with Evanger’s Dog Food and Zico Coconut Water, among others. With all the merchandising, fundraising, deals, appearances and travels (a 15-city tour that goes from coast-to-coast), Chavez now is working full-time with Manny.

“There would be no way to manage all the stuff without her quitting her job,” says Huang. “We didn’t expect any of this. It happened so fast.”

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