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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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current events, day of silence, glsen, glsen day of silence, lgbt,

Observing Day of Silence on Instagram

For more from the 19th annual National Day of Silence, browse the #dayofsilence hashtag and visit the GLSEN website.

Friday marked the 19th Annual Day of Silence, a movement in schools and universities to call attention to the issue of LGBT bullying and harassment among youth.

Organized by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), the day is marked by teens spending the day in silence as a symbol of the “silencing effect of anti-LGBT bias and behavior.” The organization estimates that hundreds of thousands of LGBT and allied students at more than 8,000 schools participated in the event this year, many wearing shirts, stickers or pins to explain their reason for silence.

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weekend hashtag project, WHPbokehinmotion, video, video on instagram, bokeh,

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPbokehinmotion

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 project draws its inspiration from a video series started by New York City Instagrammer Alice Gao (@alice_gao). The goal this weekend is to take a creative video using bokeh: the blurred part of your image that’s out of focus. Some tips to get you started:

  • To create bokeh, get up close to a nearby object first and lock your focus on it. You can usually do this by tapping the screen to set the focus and holding your finger there to lock it. After you’ve locked your focus, frame a scene that’s farther away and it should be out of focus.
  • Since your video will be out of focus, think about shapes, colors and movement as the primary elements of your video. Things that are normally very recognizable may become delightfully abstract!
  • Videos like these tend to be very bright, so consider shooting at twilight or nighttime to compensate.

For more inspiration, browse the #bokehinmotion and #bluronpurpose hashtags.

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

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art thursday, Architecture, shigeru ban, cardboard cathedral,

Architecture with Heart: Exploring the Work of Shigeru Ban

For more photos and videos from Shigeru Ban’s structures around the world, explore the Centre Pompidou-Metz and Cardboard Cathedral location pages and browse the #shigeruban hashtag.

For modernist architect Shigeru Ban, the art of structural design isn’t just an exercise in aesthetics, but rather a means of solving important problems during humanitarian crises.

Though Ban stands as the mind behind iconic structures such as the Centre Pompidou-Metz in Lorraine, France, its his temporary structures that have perhaps garnered the most recognition, earning him this year’s Pritzker Architecture Prize, the most prestigious honor in the field of modern architecture.

In the wake of massive crises, Ban has lent his skills to designing temporary structures that bring both shelter and beauty to people in need. He has worked with the UN to design refugee shelters for displaced populations in countries like Turkey and Rwanda and has even built two temporary churches in cities shaken my natural disasters. After a powerful quake struck the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2011 and severely damaged the city’s iconic 19th-century cathedral, Ban worked with local firm Warren and Mahoney to build the Cardboard Cathedral. The stunning, A-frame structure was made primarily out of cardboard tubing and paper, Ban predominant materials that are both cheaply accessible during times of crisis and are largely recyclable when the buildings come down.

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User Feature, portrait,

Finding the Light with @fabsgrassi

For more photos and videos from Fabs, follow @fabsgrassi on Instagram.

"I believe in getting my hands dirty more than I believe in inspiration, but I can’t deny that a book, a song or a conversation can fuel my energy for shooting," says São Paulo Instagrammer Fabs Grassi (@fabsgrassi). “The idea that we have an infinite creative repertoire inside of us reminds me of the Ansel Adams quote, ‘You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.’”

Fabs, a fashion designer, considers himself just a regular guy. “I have a job and I like going out with my friends. Of course, waking up at six in the morning to catch the right light for a photograph does not seem normal to most people.” Recently, however, Fabs shifted his focus from street photography to portraits. As he explains, “In 2013 my street photography sort of hit a wall. I felt it was time to try and refresh my ideas and find something less frenetic. I started picking out songs by my favorite bands and attempting to recreate their atmosphere through photography. I got some friends of mine to pose for these shots. They were really nice and brave about being my guinea pigs.”

Fabs has also started incorporating shadows, once used heavily in his street photography, into his portraits. “Shadows help create a really unique atmosphere for each photo session, where light takes on a different form in each portrait. I try to create an intimate image, something that feels languid and not too sexy. Usually, the woman posing in the photograph greatly influences the final result, so a photo session might start one way and have a surprising outcome.”

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User Feature, photojournalism, anastasia taylor-lind, portrait, negative zero,

Through the Viewfinder with @anastasiatl

To view more of Anastasia’s photos and videos, follow @anastasiatl on Instagram and visit her website.

“Traditionally, photographers are taught not to share their work before it’s finished,” says documentary photographer Anastasia Taylor-Lind (@anastasiatl). “What if someone steals your idea, or the work turns out completely different than what you told people it would be about? Photojournalism is all about being invisible, but I think it’s more honest to show how I work and how I make my photographs.”

Anastasia’s Instagram account stands as a deep look into her photographic process. Since October, she has been working on a long-term personal project called Negative Zero that documents population decline in 19 European countries. She’s shooting entirely on 6x6 negative film using her Hasselblad and Bronica film cameras, but by holding her iPhone above the viewfinder and making photos directly through the ground glass, what she calls “the view from my belly button,” she’s creating a whole new subset of photographs that can be published and shared instantly on Instagram.

For Anastasia, being so open on Instagram “allows me to muse on my own process. To sound things out and be encouraged. It’s a way of pondering what I’m doing.”

Her integration of digital and analog expanded to shooting video portraits when she found herself in Ukraine during the outbreak of anti-government riots in Kiev. With a custom-built flexible mount for her iPhone that attaches to the camera body, she devised a hands-free system to record video while making portraits of protestors inside the barricades of Maidan Square. Through these video portraits, we are able to watch her subjects prepare to have their portrait made: we see the slight shift in their stance, their gaze tilting, and ultimately, the precise moment Anastasia releases the shutter. These videos bring her subjects to life and provide an immediate, living connection to the images that Anastasia will release this summer in a book entitled MAIDAN - Portraits from the Black Square.

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Sarajevo, location feature, Olympic Games, graffiti,

Exploring Sarajevo’s Abandoned Olympic Park

To see more photos and videos of Sarajevo’s Olympic bobsled and luge track, explore the Olimpijski Bob Staza and Trebević location pages.

Stark against the dense forests of Trebević mountain stands a crumbling, brightly adorned concrete track built for the 1984 Olympic Games in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The track, used for bobsledding and the luge competitions until 1991, primarily draws hikers and graffiti artists these days. It bears the marks not only from the passage of time, but also from the wars that plagued Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 1990s.

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zoo lovers day, animals, current events, zoos,

Celebrating Zoo Lover’s Day

To view more photos and videos of Zoo Lover’s Day, browse the #zoolovers hashtag on Instagram.

Happy Zoo Lover’s Day! Since the London Zoological Gardens were established in 1828, zoos have been a place to marvel at some of the most fascinating wild animals in the world, all in one place. Many zoos, however, have developed broader and more ambitious goals around education and conservation, engaging visitors in deeper ways with the issues that animals and their habitats may face in the wild.

Interested in learning more about zoos through the day-to-day lives of the animals they care for? Be sure to follow these zoos on Instagram:

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User Feature, the netherlands, instameet,

Exploring the Netherlands with the #supersizoobrothers

For more photos and videos from the Sizoo brothers, browse the #supersizoobrothers hashtag and follow @bastiaansizoo, @willemsizoo and @bob_sizoo on Instagram.

Going on photowalks on bitterly cold mornings may not be every teen’s idea of fun—but for three Dutch brothers, Bastiaan, Bob and Willem Sizoo, this regular occurrence has fueled their creative passion.

"We started using Instagram around one year ago," explains Bob. "It has allowed us to give our creativity a boost. It was, and still is, the reason why we wake up early to go out and take photos in the fog together or to document our travels to foreign countries."

New York Instagrammer Ilitch Peters @ilitchpeters added the hashtag #supersizoobrothers in a comment on one of their photos, and Bob said they decided to keep adding it to create “a place where everyone can see who we actually are and what we do.”

Their photos, while often taken together, demonstrate different styles and approaches. Fog, sunsets, #jumpstagrams and city scenes, however, are staples in all the brothers’ feeds.

"As a family, we travel a lot," adds Bob. "Most of our photos are taken in the Netherlands on foggy mornings or during chilly sunsets. A lot of my photos are also taken in larger cities in the Netherlands like Amsterdam or Rotterdam. We regularly meet up in cities with friends who we met through Instagram; we then go out and explore the city. Sometimes we organize InstaMeets together.”

As one of the younger groups of InstaMeet organizers in the area, more experienced Instagrammers often speak of how talented the trio are, and they hope to see more young groups like them coming together.

"I hope to inspire the new generation on Instagram to explore the world, take photos with their phone or camera from places they visit and to go to InstaMeets and meet new people." says Willem.

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how i shoot, portrait, makeportraits, user feature, benjamin heath,

How I Shoot: Making Portraits with @benjaminheath

How I Shoot is a series where we ask Instagrammers to tell us about the set-up and process behind their photos and videos. For more of Benjamin’s portraits, follow @benjaminheath on Instagram. For more portraits from photographers across Instagram, browse the #makeportraits hashtag.

For Los Angeles Instagrammer Benjamin Heath (@benjaminheath), portraits are an artform. As he explains it, “Making a good portrait is hard, much harder than making a pretty landscape. I wanted to challenge myself. I felt a spark and I wondered if there were other folks in the Instagram community that shared that spark. The answer is a resounding ‘yes!’—there are!”

To Benjamin, there’s a difference between a portrait that you make and a photo that you take. “Make is such a strong word. I think it connotes a methodology or a particular rhythm to creating. If it’s going to be worthwhile you have to take time to make something. You have to hone your craft.” Benjamin, the creator of the #makeportraits hashtag, shares some of the methodology, craft and planning that goes into his own process of making portraits below.

Camera

"I use an iPhone 5s for mobile photos and shoot with a variety of digital and film cameras otherwise. I probably own too many cameras but I like picking up a camera I haven’t used for awhile. It’s like catching up with an old friend."

Planning

"Getting inspired with an idea is step one. I have a collection of photo books that I study for inspiration: Bruce Davidson, Alex Webb, Dan WintersPhilip-Lorca diCorcia blows my mind. I spend a lot of time studying photographers I love and am influenced by. Once I feel like I have an idea or some thoughts on what I want my photo to look like, I’m ready to go.

"Finding a good location is important. I like to shoot portraits that are more environmental with a sense of time and place along with the subject. For me, giving some background and environment adds depth. I think of these portraits as little 1/250 second plays that I’m directing—and this can be difficult or easy. Sometimes I’ll find something wonderful when I’m out and about and will make a mental note to come back when the light is right. Sometimes I see something online that I like and will add it to a running doc that I keep. And, you know, sometimes you stumble onto something terrific as it is and you’re fortunate to have a friend with you.

"Shooting with an experienced model is extremely helpful. I’ve been lucky to work with some great ones. That creative exchange between people is such a charge for me. I love working with people like that."

Editing

"I really don’t edit too much. I use a few of the VSCO (iOS and Android) filters pretty consistently, but like to add my own touch to each. My general view is that if I’m spending a lot of time editing a photo, I did a bad job of making the photo and it’s probably not a keeper.”

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weekend hashtag project, whphandinhand, hands,

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPhandinhand

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 #WHPhandinhand, which asked participants to take creative photos and videos of hands. Every Monday we feature some of our favorite submissions from the project, but be sure to check out the rest here.