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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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weekend hashtag project, WHPspacedreams, space, moon, Instagram, photography, science, solar system, telescope, ufo,

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPspacedreams

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 post announcing the weekend’s project every Friday.

To celebrate the 45th anniversary of the first manned lunar landing on Sunday, the goal this weekend is to reach for the stars and take creative photos and videos inspired by outer space! Some tips to get you started:

  • If you’re not sure where to begin, try visiting your local science museum, observatory or planetarium. Look for interesting new ways to capture the exhibits.
  • Let your imagination fuel your creativity. Photos and videos inspired by astronauts, planets, galaxies, space shuttles and even science fiction are all options to explore. The sky’s the limit!
  • Interested in trying your hand at astral photography? Grab a telescope, check to make sure it’s a clear night and try holding your phone’s camera lens to the eyepiece. After you’ve lined it up, tap the screen at the brightest part of the image to prevent your subject from overexposing.

PROJECT RULES: Please only add the #WHPspacedreams hashtag to photos and videos taken over this weekend and only submit your own photographs and 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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history, portrait, art, Nelson Mandela, Mandela Day, photography, Instagram,

Paying Tribute to Madiba on Mandela Day

To see more tributes to activist and former South African president Nelson Mandela, explore the #MandelaDay and #Madiba hashtags.

Nelson Mandela was only 33 years old when a speech he gave incited a protest in Durban and first landed him in jail. Over the next 10 years, Mandela would be arrested three more times for his work fighting South Africa’s oppressive apartheid regime until a 1962 conviction for sedition sent him to prison for the next 27 years.

“I was hoping to capture some sense of the hardships he suffered,” retired Johannesburg math lecturer Vivien Budge (@vivbudge) says of the young Mandela portrait she painted, “the anger he must have felt at the injustices he witnessed and the relentless tenacity, determination and courage with which he fought for his beliefs.”

After his release in 1990, Mandela helped bring an end to apartheid in South Africa and became the country’s first black democratically elected President. Mandela, who died last December but would have been 96 today, continues to inspire South Africans and others around the world to this day.

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art, aquarium, Art Thursday, Japan, Instagram, goldfish, photography, edo period, hidetomo kimura, Tokyo,

Tradition Meets Technology at the 2014 Eco Edo Nihonbashi Art Aquarium

For more photos and videos from the exhibition, explore the COREDO室町 (Coredo Muromachi) and アートアクアリウム2014 (Art Aquarium 2014) location pages and browse the #アートアクアリウム (art aquarium) hashtag.

The Eco Edo Nihonbashi Art Aquarium 2014 opened last Friday at the Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall in Tokyo, Japan. This exhibition features 17 fish tank installations designed by “art aquarist” Hidetomo Kimura, whose work brings more than 5,000 goldfish on display in 70 aquariums.

These extraordinary aquatic installations are decked with LED lights, projection mapping, music and even scents. While the technology involved is quite advanced, the aquarium designs are inspired by Japan’s Edo Period (1603–1868) and incorporate traditional motifs such as classic glass fish bowls, folding screens and lanterns.

Hidetomo’s works will be on view at the Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall until September 23, 2014.

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art, illustration, mexico, dance, teen, latin america, User Feature, Instagram,

Drawing on Emotion with @literaluis

For more of Luis’s sketches, follow @literaluis on Instagram.

"I’ve been doodling since I can remember. At times, it even becomes a totally unconscious act. No blank sheet of paper is safe with me as long as there’s a pen or pencil around,” says 17-year-old Mexico sketch artist and dancer Luis Ruiz (@literaluis). Luis characterizes his style as cartoon-like and says he never intends for his characters to really resemble the subject. “The relevance I see in them doesn’t lie in who they are, but what they would say if they were able to speak,” he explains.

Luis finds creative inspiration from listening to others. “My favorite things to sketch are portraits because of how much they reveal about a being or a person: a nostalgic gaze, lips sealed as if they had something important to say, even the way hair is styled. The possibilities are endless.” Relating to his subjects is also a part of Luis’s creative process. He explains, “I enjoy seeing the contrast between my characters’ portraits and my own. By standing next to them, I am reminded that they are a part of me and that their feelings were once my own. Nowadays everyone is eager to share their own story, however only a few are keen to listen. Listening to someone else makes you realize how human we all truly are and how our emotions aren’t as alienated as we may portray them.”

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design, art, sneakers, sneaker art, nike, reebok, puma sneakers, new balance, User Feature, Instagram,

The Sneaker Creatures of @hazzyboom

To see more of Hazzy Lin’s sneaker art creations, follow @hazzyboom on Instagram

Graphic designer Hazzy Lin (@hazzyboom) is a self-described “sneaker head.” Living in Taipei, Hazzy combines his love for street wear with his talent for illustration to create some of the most imaginative collections of sneaker art on Instagram.

His first sketch of a mutant shoe-creature was a monster inspired by a pair of Nike Air SB Jordans. The response from his followers encouraged him to continue experimenting, leading to more elaborate designs like his Reebok Pump with the face of an attacking dog, the fins of a shark and the body of a high-top.

Hazzy’s success for creating fantastical sneaker transformations has led him to start his own graphic design operation. When he needs a bit of inspiration, Hazzy scrolls through all his favorite Instagram sneaker accounts and keeps an eye on the #sneakerart hashtag.

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Berlin, photography, User Feature, hashtag highlight, pink pipes, Instagram, Architecture, infrastructure,

Understanding Berlin’s Pink Pipes with @Berlinstagram

To view more photos and videos of the pink pipes in Berlin, browse the #thatpipeagain hashtag and follow @berlinstagram on Instagram

Berlin is one big swamp—or at least it used to be. Distinctive pink pipes twist through the city to the nearest river or canal. As groundwater levels are very high, this prevents the city from submerging into a giant puddle.

The pipes are designed to withstand shrinkage or breakage in extreme temperatures, and the distinct pink color is the result of a study which found this color is preferred by both youth and older generations who are young at heart. Berlin Instagrammer Michael Schulz (@berlinstagram) created the #thatpipeagain hashtag to capture them. “The pink pipes are quite iconic for Berlin,” he says. “When I first visited the city 20 years ago and came across them, I was fascinated and irritated at once—and those pipes stuck to my mind as a characteristic thing of the city.” Now, people all over Berlin use the hashtag to spark conversation about the pink pipes and capture them from different angles throughout the city.

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photography, news, colorado, photojournalism, animals, User Feature, instagram, matt slaby, salman rushdie, luceo,

Signposts of Culture on an Unconventional Road with @mattslaby

To see more from photojournalist Matt Slaby’s test kitchen of photographic experiments, follow @mattslaby on Instagram.

Matt Slaby (@mattslaby) is a 6-foot-7 colorblind photographer based in Denver who was once told by Salman Rushdie that he was “too tall.” His Instagram photos are populated by spacemen, abandoned nuclear missile silos and fictional stories written for found snapshots.

"The signposts of culture are really set by the outliers and the weirdos," Matt says. He describes Instagram as his "test kitchen" for experimenting, receiving feedback and understanding “how subjects view their own world and what items they are tuned into."

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Matt traveled an “unconventional road into the creative world,” working his way through university and law school as a wilderness firefighter and an metropolitan EMT before taking on photography full time—just a month after passing his law exams.

"I love how things take on apparent order when you view them from a macro or micro perspective," he says. "It’s the middle distance that’s confusing, chaotic and kinda absurd."

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photography, fashion, design, art, Paris, tim walker, sofia coppola, Margot Breby, User Feature, Instagram,

Overcoming Shyness with Margot Breby

To see more of Margot’s whimsical photos and videos, follow @margotbreby on Instagram.

For Paris Instagrammer Margot Breby (@margotbreby), her style was always a way out of her shell. “I am very shy, and fashion is a good way to express myself,” she says. “Growing up, I wanted to become a stylist and I drew outfits I dreamed of wearing.”

Margot’s serene, light-soaked Instagram photos have also helped with her shyness. “It brought wonderful people into my life,” she says. “People who became true friends. I never imagined that when I began a year ago.”

Margot’s inspiration comes from eclectic sources, many of whom share her whimsical outlook. “I really love Sofia Coppola’s and Wes Anderson’s movies and Tim Walker’s photography,” she says. “I am also very inspired by other Instagrammers.”

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weekend hashtag project, WHPmirrormirror, mirror, photography, Instagram,

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPmirrormirror

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 post announcing the weekend’s project every Friday.

This weekend’s tag was #WHPmirrormirror, which asked participants to take creative photos using mirrors to capture unexpected angles. Every Monday we feature some of our favorite submissions from the project, but be sure to check out the rest here.

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Instagram, photography, rio de janeiro, brazil,

Waiting For the Perfect Shot with @deni_perez

To see more of Denise’s visual storytelling around Brazil, follow @deni_perez on Instagram.

Rio de Janeiro Instagrammer Denise Perez (@deni_perez) provides a glimpse into the vast country of Brazil. As she explains, her love for photography allows her to step into and share worlds that are not her own: “I love photography’s transformative power. It lets you reveal beauty in scenes which are often considered ugly or unworthy of attention.” Her patience allows her to tell many stories through photography, often catching her subjects in movement or with powerful facial expressions.

In one particular case, Denise captured an image of a bird flying past a woman on Rio de Janeiro’s beach, Praia Leme. “Most people see this image and think it’s a photomontage. I’ve heard it all, from the bird being a backpack, a costume or some sort of hair decoration. Some people even call it ‘the photo of the dead bird,’ and others attribute this photograph to pure luck.” For Denise, a good photograph depends on luck and a lot of patience, “I saw the pigeon coming and I waited for a really long time to get the shot as he finally landed in the perfect position.”