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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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iwd2014, international women's day, current events,

International Women’s Day 2014

For more photos and videos from incredible women sharing their stories on Instagram, be sure to follow Michelle Obama (@michelleobama), Stella McCartney (@stellamccartney) Condoleezza Rice (@condoleezzarice), Jenny Jones (@jennyjonessnow) and Laura Mvula (@lauramvula).

On Saturday, men and women around the world celebrate International Women’s Day. An official holiday for many countries, the day has been observed since the 1900s as a chance to celebrate women’s economic, political and social achievements. As a tribute to women everywhere, here are some of the exceptional women using Instagram to document their incredible stories of talent, triumph and humanitarianism:

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weekend hashtag project, whpwomenwhoinspire, international women's day,

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPwomenwhoinspire

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.

In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, the goal this weekend is to take portraits of the women who inspire you and share their stories in your caption. Some tips to get you started:

  • Let the story drive your portrait. Spend time talking with your subject beforehand, explain the project and try to capture what inspires you in her body language and expressions.
  • When taking a portrait, take some time to think about light. Seek out soft windowlight for a calm portrait or, for a more dramatic shot, position your subject in a sharp sunbeam.
  • Finally, if you’re inspired by a woman you’ve never met, try using this project to reach out to her and share how she inspires you. She’ll appreciate hearing from you, and you might just get the chance to take a portrait of someone you really admire.

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

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user feature, photojournalism, Kenya,

On Assignment in Kenya with @balazsgardi

To see more photos and videos from photojournalist Balazs Gardi’s work in Kenya and elsewhere, follow @balazsgardi on Instagram.

Photojournalist Balazs Gardi (@balazsgardi) has spent the past decade documenting the effects of the unfolding global water crisis. Balazs’s work has taken him to more than 20 countries across Africa and the Middle East. Most recently, he finds himself in Kenya: “With the changing climate, the people of Kenya’s already arid Turkana region suffer greatly from the consequences of prolonged droughts,” he explains.

It was Balazs’s grandmother that sparked his interest in photography. “She had it in her head that photography was a good path for a young man with no patience for authority or office work,” he says. “She was right, and I discovered that photography was a way to learn about people, their situations and problems, and about the world.”

As he learns and shares the stories of people affected by the water crisis, Balazs says Instagram “has become a vital tool to share work that matters to me and allows me to put the image in context and deliver it directly to my audience.”

Balazs hopes his photos and videos will stir people to action. “By passing on my experiences, I’d like not only to inform but also to spark meaningful public dialog. As time goes on I hope my audience takes action that either directly helps people in great need or changes their own behavior for the better.”

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Location Feature, golden temple, amritsar, harmandir sahib, sikh, india,

Exploring the Golden Temple of Amritsar

For more photos and videos from the sacred site in Amritsar, explore the Harmandir Sahib and Golden Temple location pages.

In the city of Amritsar in India’s Punjab region, the Harmandir Sahib (ਹਰਿਮੰਦਰ ਸਾਹਿਬ) stands as the most sacred site of the Sikh faith.

The temple, or gurdwara, was first constructed in the 2nd century after the excavation of the holy lake in which it stands. Guru Arjan, the fifth Sikh Guru, designed the temple as a central place of worship for his faith. The architecture and decoration of the site are marked by details symbolic of the Sikh worldview. Notably, a series of four entrances open onto the lake from all sides, welcoming visitors of all faiths.

After suffering substantial damage during a wartime attack, the temple was rebuilt in the 1700s and later adorned with its signature gold exterior in the early 19th century. Now, the temple itself houses the Adi Granth, the central religious text of Sikhism, as well as memorial plaques and inscriptions for commemorating sacred sites, events and the Sikh soldiers who died in the World Wars.

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art thursday, copan, sao paulo, Location Feature, oscar niemeyer,

Inside the Copan: A City within a Building

To view more photos and videos from the Copan, explore the Edifício Copan and Centro Cultural Pivô location pages.

Towering above the heart of São Paulo, the Copan apartment building resembles a wave wending through the frenetic movement of the city. Designed by renowned Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, the Copan houses about 5,000 residents in its more than 1,000 apartments. The idea of community stands as one of the founding principles of the Copan, as its communal spaces and sweeping floor areas are meant to encourage residents to come together. Drawing on this idea, Brazilian artist Fernanda Brenner recently converted an abandoned clinic within the Copan into Pivô (@pivoarte), an experimental art space showcasing modern art. In creating Pivô, Brenner aims to show not only the artist’s final work but also the creative process. Artists are encouraged to prepare for exhibits in open studio spaces, stimulating a unique dialogue between São Paulo and its art.

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ash wednesday, lent, miercoles de ceniza, catholic, cuaresma,

Ash Wednesday

To view more photos and videos from Ash Wednesday, browse the #ashwednesday and #miércolesdeceniza hashtags.

Ash Wednesday marks the end of most Carnival celebrations around the world. On Ash Wednesday, or the first day of Lent, Anglican, Catholic and Lutheran Christians place ashes on their foreheads as a reminder of human mortality. In many countries, such as Mexico, Chile, the Philippines, Italy and the United States, millions of observers flock to local churches to receive ashes from their priests. Despite its huge Catholic population, the vast majority of Brazilians do not formally observe Ash Wednesday, as many Carnival celebrations continue through Ash Wednesday and only cease at the end of the week.

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Mardi Gras, New Orleans, Louisiana, current events,

Mardi Gras 2014 on Instagram

To see more photos and videos of Mardi Gras celebrations across Louisiana, visit the Lafayette Square and Lee Circle location pages and explore the #mardigras2014 hashtag.

Laissez les bons temps rouler, it’s Mardi Gras!

For Catholics, tomorrow is the beginning of Lent, a six-week period of fasting and prayer. Around the world, this period of quiet piety and reflection is ushered in by massive colorful parades and celebrations called Carnival—except in Louisiana, where it goes by the name Mardi Gras.

Translated from French as “Fat Tuesday,” Mardi Gras festivities have actually been in full swing for weeks. The season is marked by festive costumes, king cake and elaborate parades across New Orleans and nearby cities.

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carnivale de ivrea, carnival, Italy, current events,

Capturing Carnevale di Ivrea (Battle of the Oranges) on Instagram

To view more photos and videos from Carnevale di Ivrea, explore the Ivrea and Carnevale di Ivrea location page and browse the #carnevaleivrea hashtag on Instagram.

Ivrea, a town in northern Italy, plays host to one of the biggest food fights in Europe every year. Attendees in traditional dress from the middle ages flood the streets and are encouraged to pelt each other with oranges.

The Carnevale di Ivrea (Battle of the Oranges) is the fabled recreation of a medieval battle between townspeople and guards—the origins of which are a mixture of legend and history about driving an evil tyrant out of the city. With horse-drawn carts and helmets, organized teams gather in the town’s square for the battle, leaving only a trail of pulp and peel as evidence of destruction.

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current events, Academy Awards, Oscars, lupita nyong'o, jared leto,

The 86th Academy Awards on Instagram

For more photos and videos from the Academy Awards, explore the Dolby Theater location page and browse the #AcademyAwards and #Oscars hashtags.

The 86th Academy Awards (@theacademy) took place last night at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, California. The rain didn’t get in the way as nominees, winners and folks from the film industry Instagrammed their path from the red carpet to the after-parties in celebration of the last year’s achievements in film. Highlights from the night included host Ellen DeGeneres (@theellenshow)’s nominee-packed selfie and photographer Mark Seliger (@markseliger)’s Instagram portraits at the Vanity Fair (@vanityfair) after-party.

To see the night through their eyes, explore the accounts of these attendees on Instagram:

  • Ellen DeGeneres, host – @theellenshow
  • Lupita Nyong’o, winner Best Actress in a Supporting Role (12 Years a Slave) – @lupitanyongo
  • Jared Leto, winner Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Dallas Buyers Club) – @jaredleto
  • Emmanuel Lubezki, winner Best Achievement in Cinematography (Gravity) – @chivexp
  • Patrick Tubach, nominee for Visual Effects (Star Trek Into Darkness) – @echothecrat
  • Michael B Jordan, presenter – @michaelbjordan
  • Ewan McGregor, presenter – @mcgregor_ewan
  • Jamie Foxx, presenter – @iamjamiefoxx
  • Wolfgang Puck, event chef – @chefwolfgangpuck
  • Mark Seliger, Vanity Fair portraitist – @markseliger

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WHPtelephone, weekend hashtag project,

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPtelephone

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