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Welcome to the Instagram blog! See how Instagrammers are capturing and sharing the world's moments through photo and video features, user spotlights, tips and news from Instagram HQ.

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Nelson Mandela, current events, User Feature,

Documenting South Africa’s Farewell to Nelson Mandela with @danielberehulak

To view photos and videos from the 10 days of mourning for Nelson Mandela, follow @danielberehulak on Instagram.

Following the news of Nelson Mandela’s death, Australian photojournalist Daniel Berehulak (@danielberehulak) has been sharing scenes from the 10 days of mourning.

From the crowds which gathered to pay respects outside the former South African president’s home in Houghton, Johannesburg, to the stands of the First National Bank (FNB) stadium for the state memorial service, Daniel has been sharing photos while covering the story for the New York Times, choosing moments and outtakes which wouldn’t make the picture desk cut.

Some of the most moving photos from the last 10 days show crowds thronging the pavements along the route of the funeral procession being lead through Pretoria. He said the atmosphere along the route was one of joy—with people celebrating Mandela’s life more than mourning it.

"The mood indeed has been mixed, with people overcome with emotion only shortly after witnessing the cortège driving past, with the reality probably setting in," he said. "Thousands and thousands of people lined up to catch buses in order to pay their respects to Nelson Mandela. The mood was incredibly jovial despite the sombre reality. People want to celebrate his life rather than mourn it. They were certainly marking it by singing and dancing in the streets."

Daniel’s photos have captured a nation in mourning for a leader and the celebration of an outstanding life. “People were paying homage to his incredible life and the impact that he and had on South Africa and what he meant to people across the world.” On Sunday, a traditional burial ceremony took place in Qunu, Mandela’s Eastern Cape home town.

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instagram news, the week on instagram, twoi,

The Week on Instagram | 109

News

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Around the Community

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local lens, prague, czech republic, location feature, user feature,

Local Lens: Exploring the Old and New in Prague with @j1rk4

Local Lens: In this series, we let local Instagrammers show you their favorite places to shoot in their cities. Experience Prague through the lens of a local by following @j1rk4, and check out the location pages for Náplavka u Hergetovy Cihelny, Charles Bridge, National Monument on Vitkov, John Lennon Wall, Mare Point and Radotínský Most.

Jirka Kryl (@j1rk4) is from the Czech town of Olomouc, but he attends university in Prague, the Czech Republic's capital and largest city.

"In my opinion, Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. There is wonderful architecture—both historic and modern. I’ve lived in Prague for only two years, however I walk everywhere, and love to explore and find photogenic places."

Jirka shared these favorite spots as top sites for any visiting Instagrammer:

"I wouldn’t miss a place like Náplavka u Hergetovy Cihelny, where you can feed the gorgeous swans. And no trip would be complete without seeing the Charles Bridge. If you want a great view of the iconic Zizkov tower, I recommend the National Monument on Vitkov. Of course, the John Lennon Wall is another popular tourist spot.”

And what about places off the beaten path?

"The bridge over the road by Mare Point in the neighborhood of Karlín is worth the trip, as is the absolutely fabulous spot under Radotínský Most.”

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whp100, weekend hashtag project,

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHP100

Weekend Hashtag Project is a series featuring designated themes & hashtags chosen by Instagram’s Community Team. For a chance to be featured on the Instagram blog, follow @instagram and look for a photo announcing the weekend’s project every Friday.

This weekend marks our 100th Weekend Hashtag Project! Since this series first began, we’ve been stunned by the creativity of the Instagram community as you’ve art-watched, reflectagrammed, replaced your faces and explored aquariums, empty spaces, forests and even lighthouses. This year, with the introduction of video, we’ve also seen new parts of the creative community coming to life as you explore everything from slow motion to how you cook.

In celebration of all this creativity, the goal this weekend is to capture your own interpretation of “100” through photo or video. Some tips to get you started: Think about what 100 represents in terms of age—take portraits that show the beauty of people who’ve lived past 100 years or look for ways to photograph interesting objects that have been around for a century. Look for objects that come in large sets to stage arrangements of 100. Finally, remember that the number 100 can be a work of art in itself—look for beautiful versions of the number in books, on buildings and everywhere in between.

PROJECT RULES: Please only add the #WHP100 hashtag to photos and videos taken over this weekend and only submit your own photographs or videos to the project. Any image or video taken then tagged over the weekend is eligible to be featured right here Monday morning!

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Most-Instagrammed Cities of 2013, top locations of 2013, instagram news, 2013,

Top Locations on Instagram in 2013

As 2013 draws to a close, it’s once again time to look back on another amazing year on Instagram. It’s inspiring to see moments shared from all around the world, whether it’s a photo from your hometown or a video from your vacation. We took a look at the location trends to find the most-Instagrammed places of 2013.

Like last year, a popular location in Thailand tops the list. The Siam Paragon (สยามพารากอน)—a massive shopping complex, movie theater and aquarium in Bangkok—was our top spot, edging out 2012’s most-Instagrammed place, Bangkok’s International Airport. Suvarnabhumi Airport dropped to number nine, while the Eiffel Tower dropped off the top-ten list altogether. (See more from last year’s list here.)

New to the most-popular list in 2013: Walt Disney World, High Line and Central Park in New York City and the Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas.

The Most-Instagrammed Locations of 2013

  1. Siam Paragon (สยามพารากอน) shopping mall, Bangkok, Thailand
  2. Times Square, New York
  3. Disneyland, California
  4. Bellagio Fountains, Las Vegas
  5. Disney World Florida
  6. Staples Center, Los Angeles
  7. Central Park, New York
  8. Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
  9. Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) ท่าอากาศยานสุวรรณภูมิ, Bangkok, Thailand
  10. The High Line, New York

In the course of the past year, we’ve seen Instagram continue to grow across the globe. We’ve been amazed to see the community thrive in places like Indonesia, Russia and Brazil. 60% of Instagrammers are now sharing photos and videos from outside of the United States, so we wanted to also share the most-Instagrammed cities in the world.

The Most-Instagrammed Cities of 2013

  1. New York City, NY, USA
  2. Bangkok, Thailand
  3. Los Angeles, CA, USA
  4. London, UK
  5. São Paulo, Brazil
  6. Moscow, Russia
  7. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  8. San Diego, CA, USA
  9. Las Vegas, NV, USA
  10. San Francisco, CA, USA

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lussekatter, St. Lucia, current event,

Scandinavia Celebrates the Feast of St. Lucia

To see more festive photos and videos, browse the #santalucia, #lussekatter and #lucia hashtags.

In Scandinavia, you are guaranteed three things each winter: long nights, crisp snowy days and the feast of St. Lucia. Every December 13, children in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark celebrate the gift of light, the coming of Christmas and the ancient Norse tradition of the Winter Solstice. St. Lucia’s traditions include a luciatåg—a candle procession symbolizing the gift of light—and eating saffron buns with raisins called lussekatter.

Foodies Ida Skivenes (@idafrosk) and Linda Lomelino (@linda_lomelino) look forward to the yearly celebration as a time for gathering together with loved ones and baking lussekatter. “For me, St. Lucia Day means Christmas is coming near. It’s a warm and cozy celebration, perfectly timed for the usually cold and dark winter,” says Skivenes. “As a child, I would take part in the candle processions, dressed in a white robe, holding a lit candle, and handing out freshly baked saffron buns while singing the Lucia song. As an adult, I simply enjoy eating the pastries and drinking hot chocolate or mulled wine (gløgg) with friends or family.”

Ina Johnsen (@matpaabordet), enjoys the luciatåg. “If you are lucky enough to have kids in kindergarten you’ll have adorable boys and girls dressed in angelic white nightgowns with silver wreaths around their heads to send off to school.” The children mirror the actions of St. Lucia, a third century martyr who is said to have secretly delivered food to persecuted Christians in the catacombs of Rome by bringing candlelight and lussekatter to friends and family.

Stories differ on where and when lussekatter, which translates to “cat eyes,” entered into the feast day tradition, but people of all ages eagerly look forward to eating the special S-shaped pastries spiced with saffron to intensify the flavor and color of ordinary yeast buns. “I always eat at least one lussekatt,” says Lomelino. “But preferably more!” Amid of the cold, dark winter, you’ll find those celebrating St. Lucia Day sharing scenes on Instagram of these special pastries and drinks in the warm company of friends and family.

Video

instagram news, instagram direct,

Introducing Instagram Direct

Watch Instagram’s co-founder Kevin Systrom announce Instagram Direct on our livestream video here.

Today, we’re excited to bring you Instagram Direct, a new way to send photo and video messages to friends.

Over the past three years, the Instagram community has grown to over 150 million people capturing and sharing moments all around the globe. As we’ve grown, Instagram has evolved not only into a community of photographers, but also into a means of visual communication. From a photo of your daily coffee to a sunrise shared from the top of a mountain hike, every Instagram moment contains something you find special—something you broadcast to your followers when you tap “share.”

There are, however, moments in our lives that we want to share, but that will be the most relevant only to a smaller group of people—an inside joke between friends captured on the go, a special family moment or even just one more photo of your new puppy. Instagram Direct helps you share these moments.

From how you capture photos and videos to the way you start conversations through likes and comments, we built Instagram Direct to feel natural to the Instagram experience you already know. When you open Instagram, you’ll now see a new icon in the top right corner of your home feed. Tap it to open your inbox where you’ll see photos and videos that people have sent to you. To send a photo or video to specific people, tap the camera button to enter the same simple photo or video capture and editing screens. At the top of the share screen, you’ll see the option to share with your followers (“Followers”) or to send to specific people (“Direct”). To send using Direct, tap the names of the people you want to send your photo or video to, write your caption, tap “send” and you’re done.

After sending, you’ll be able to find out who’s seen your photo or video, see who’s liked it and watch your recipients commenting in real time as the conversation unfolds.

Photos and videos that you receive from people you follow will appear immediately. If someone you’re not following sends you a photo or video on Instagram, it will go to your requests so you can decide if you want to view it.

To learn more about Instagram Direct, check out help.instagram.com.

Instagram for iOS version 5.0 is available today for download in Apple’s App Store, and Instagram for Android version 5.0 is available today on Google Play. Instagram for Windows Phone is in beta. Stay tuned for future updates.

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artthursday, rone, street art, Location Feature, Berlin,

Street Artist Rone (@r_o_n_e) on the Walls of Berlin

For more photos and videos of Rone’s work across the world, browse the #Rone hashtag or follow @r_o_n_e on Instagram.

Atop a five-story-high building facade at Nollendorfplatz in Berlin, street artist Rone (@r_o_n_e) has completed his latest work. Known for paintings of glamorous and idolized women, Rone’s street art aims to highlight the friction point between beauty and decay. At a distance, the women depicted on the Berlin building appear perfect, but viewed up close you can see paint running and signs of deterioration.

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Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe, current event, photo feature,

Mexico Celebrates Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe (Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe)

To see more photos from the Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, visit the Basílica de Santa María de Guadalupe location page.

Today Mexico celebrates one of its most important holidays, Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe (Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe).

According to Roman Catholics, an apparition of the Virgin Mary appeared to a peasant named Juan Diego on 12 December, 1531, and instructed him to build a church in her honor. When Juan was asked by a local Archbishop to prove his miraculous vision was real, Mary told him to gather roses from a barren hill. Upon presenting the roses to the Archbishop, the flowers turned into a piece of fabric emblazoned with the Virgin Mary’s image. The icon hangs today in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe and is the most visited Marian shrine in the world.

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hashtag highlight, User Feature, deadtoyssociety, Athens,

#DeadToysSociety with @alef79: a Memorial to Childhood Days Past

For more photos and videos from Athens’s streets, browse the #deadtoyssociety hashtag on Instagram and follow @alef79.

Look closely along the streets of Athens, Greece, and you might find a forgotten world of past childhoods. For Alexis Efstathopoulos (@alef79), teddy bears, cars, bicycles, dolls and miniature soldiers—weather-worn by vigorous playtime and then left to brace the elements—have all become the subjects of a forlorn but playful series of abandoned toys on Instagram.

"I accidentally came across a small plastic horse toy, which I captured with my phone," Alexis explains. "What I mostly liked in the photo was the forms in it; the horse, the pavement lines, a fence. The following days I randomly encountered other toys on the street and this became more and more intense as the days went by. Obviously the toys have always been there, on the streets of Athens, I just never had the eyes to see them."

Alexis started using the hashtag #deadtoyssociety to document and capture the abandoned toys and soon fellow Instagrammers began to contribute from across the world.

"To me this entire process acts as a memorial service in honor of the discarded toys," muses Alexis. "This project has to do not only with toys, but also with childhood, nostalgia, past, memories and reuse."