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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: #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.

The goal this weekend is to take creative photos and videos of hands. Some tips to get you started:

  • Hands can be extremely expressive. Spend some time observing people’s body language to get an idea for how they hold their hands depending on their mood and emotions.
  • Our hands are constantly working. Whether they’re painting, sewing, writing, typing or building, keep an eye out for how you can capture hands at work—especially with video.
  • Age can play a big part in telling the story of your photo or video. A child’s youthful hands can convey joy and excitement, whereas older hands lined with the wrinkles of time can create a more tranquil scene.

PROJECT RULES: Please only add the #WHPhandinhand 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!


user feature, coffee,

Scouring the Globe for the Best Cup of Coffee

To see more photos and videos from the life of a traveling coffee buyer, follow @stephen_vick and @bluebottle on Instagram.

As the buyer for Blue Bottle Coffee’s green, not-yet-roasted coffee, Stephen Vick (@stephen_vick) travels to every corner of the globe. “I use Instagram to document my travels and show interesting, beautiful, quirky things that I see when I’m out in the world,” says Stephen.

It was in 2004 that Stephen began visiting the farms where coffee is grown. With those trips, says Stephen, “came a greater understanding that most of the challenges in producing a quality cup of coffee are hurdles that are faced by the producer,” like shortfalls in knowledge, resources and capacity.

In the past decade, Stephen has visited more than 17 countries in a variety of capacities, from teaching farmers best practices to working on the construction of more economical and sustainable processing facilities. Spending time in remote, tropical areas has also brought the occasional harrowing health experience: “In Northwestern Tanzania I contracted cerebral malaria, had kidney failure and went into a coma.” After a few months, Stephen regained his strength and returned to the work he loves.

These days, Stephen spends about half his time out visiting coffee farms. “My favorite is Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee and the most challenging and rewarding country to source from.”


User Feature,

A Long Journey Home with @nashker

To view more photos and videos from Nathan’s travel across the globe, follow @nashker on Instagram.

After living and working in Hong Kong for a couple of years, United States Instagrammer Nathan Ashker (@nashker) decided to head back to his parents’ home in Tennessee, but with one caveat: he’d travel home without taking a single plane. “I wanted to combine my long-term travel desires with my journey back to America by traveling overland from South East Asia to the USA,” he says. Nathan is now at the beginning of his trip that started in March. He has planned an extensive backpacking journey by land and by sea that takes him across South East Asia, China, Russia, parts of Europe and finally through a long stretch of America from the East coast westward. Though the trip is largely on his own time, he has set a few deadlines to meet: a reunion with friends from Hong Kong in Cambodia later this month, the train ride from Beijing to Moscow in mid May and boarding the cargo ship in August that will take him from Northern France to New York. When all is said and done, he hopes to reach his final destination in roughly eight months time.

In addition to reunions with old friends, Nathan has plans to meet up with local Instagrammers as he travels: “When I started mapping my route I realized that I knew Instagrammers in many of the cities I’m going to visit, and so I hope to meet many of those people along the way.”

Nathan says he has met some of his closest friends through Instagram, and sharing this epic journey with them helps him persevere through any difficulties he meets on his travels. “It’s so wonderful to know that once I reconnect to the internet, I have a community of people to engage with and even meet when I arrive to their city,” he says. “This trip is very much a personal journey, but knowing that other people find it inspiring motivates me on the tough days (and there are many) and also humbles me to the scope of what I’m doing.”


artthursday, Nick Cave, ICA, art,

Nick Cave’s Soundsuits at the Boston ICA

To see more photos and videos of Nick Cave’s colorful creations, explore the Institute of Contemporary Art location page.

Chicago-based artist Nick Cave constructs his signature “Soundsuits”—vivid, noise-making costumes—from discarded and rediscovered materials. The suits’ varied and whimsical forms directly reflect Cave’s training as a dancer and are often used in dance performances.

The Soundsuits’ origins are darker than their vibrant colors might suggest. Cave created his first suit in 1992 as a response to the Rodney King beating. He told the Washington Post, “I built this sort of suit of armor, and by putting it on, I realized that I could a make a sound from moving in it. It made me think of ideas around protest, and how we should be a voice and speak louder.”

Cave’s suits, along with several freestanding sculptures and paintings, are on display at the Institute of Contemporary Art through May 4.


Maho Beach, sam horine, Location Feature,

Capturing the Airplanes of St. Maarten’s Maho Beach with @samhorine

To view more photos and videos from Maho Beach, explore the Maho Beach, Sint Maarten location page.

Maho Beach on the Dutch side of the Caribbean country of Sint Maarten has white sand and turquoise waters, but that’s not why visitors flock there. The beach is famous for planes that buzz sunbathers at low altitudes en route to landing at the Princess Juliana International Airport. Arriving aircraft must touch down as close as possible to the beginning of Runway 10 because of its short 2,300-meter (7,500-foot) landing strip.

New York Instagrammer Sam Horine (@samhorine) recently visited Maho Beach while on a layover. “I walked down the airport road for 10 minutes and turned a corner to find a large crowd of people swimming, sunbathing, drinking cheap Carib beers and waiting for the jets to come in,” he says. “I first watched a few smaller island hoppers come in—a plane lands or takes off every 20 minutes or so. Then, a 757 pulled up for take off. People ran over to the short fence separating the beach and the runway and grabbed hold of the chain link. The jet’s engines turned on and it tore down the runway kicking up sand. Hats, sunglasses and other small items flew past me as the jet blasted down the runway for takeoff. It was truly an amazing, and sandy, experience.”

To get a great shot of the planes, Sam has a few tips:

  • I really liked the perspective of the jets coming in over the beach from the side. It gave a great perspective of how low the planes were and how many people were there.
  • If you’re shooting from the side, I found it helpful to frame the shot before the plane gets there to figure out exactly when you’ll need to start shooting.
  • You can also stand on the beach and let the planes come right over you or wade out into the water and eliminate the beach completely—at the right time of day the jets will cast their shadows down on the water.
  • Don’t underestimate shooting back at the crowd from the beach and catching the planes from behind as they come in above the crowd.
  • Shoot in burst mode if you can. It’s a matter of seconds between when the plane’s a small speck in the frame to when it’s roaring overhead. I missed a few planes at first because of the speed.
  • Lastly, I shot in the square crop on my phone so I could make sure I got the entire plane in the frame to post to Instagram.


user feature, 45 degrees,

Exploring the World at 45 Degrees with @teaforbear

To view more photos and videos of different teas, follow @teaforbear on Instagram.

Russian Instagrammer Sergey Minkin (@teaforbear) has found a unique way of blending geometry and objects to create what he calls his perfect “cup of tea.”

He started his “Tea of” series more than a year ago, developing a passion for 45-degree angles in the process. “I was walking down the street and thinking about new compositions for a themed account but I wanted something which would last,” says Sergey. “My friends now joke that I can capture everything in 45 degrees. I started to get good feedback from people and I became more involved.”

Sergey also explains how he juxtaposes different patterns and objects to create the different compositions—or “teas”—of each photo. Says Sergey, “Every photo is ‘tea’ of something I find around. Tea of good mood, different angles. Actually it does not depend on 45 degrees, it’s just describing about what is this tea. There are complicated things, and there are things that are both simple and unclear at the same time.”


ahmad_abi, User Feature, stuffed hair,

The Art of Stuffing Hair with @ahmad_abi

For more photos and videos of Ahmad’s hair, browse the #stuffedhair hashtag and follow @ahmad_abi on Instagram.

Egypt Instagrammer Ahmad El-Abi’s first #stuffedhair photo was originally a submission for the Weekend Hashtag Project on 2014 resolutions (#WHPresolutions2014). Ahmad stuffed his hair full of yellow rubber ducks he had bought in 2013 but never got round to doing anything with. Instead of creating a project about yellow rubber ducks, Ahmad had given birth to a creative and amusing new photo series on Instagram.

"Family and friends’ reaction to the photo was amazing," Ahmad muses. "I said to myself, I shall put stuff in my hair until I cut it and I made the ‘paper boats head' and the reaction was even more awesome and encouraging.”

Ahmad says many people comment asking how he creates the photos. “The most interesting (and difficult) photo was the ‘bubble head,’ because people couldn’t understand how the bubbles didn’t pop when they touched my hair. So I posted showing a making of the photo, which was really difficult to do. There were so many trial shots until I finally got one I liked.”

The reaction to the series from the Instagram community has inspired Ahmad to continue posting and explore a newfound interest in photography. “I hope to inspire others to open their eyes, to do what they love and to discover more about what they can do, because when I started photography three years ago, I didn’t know I would be doing conceptual/creative photography. I really love it when someone says my photos cheer them up because they are colorful and funny.”


User Feature, matt steele, whpwhoopsie, april fools,

Celebrating April Fool’s Day with @mattsteele's Visual Wordplay

For more of Matt’s creative humor, follow @_mattsteele_ on Instagram.

For Ohio Instagrammer Matt Steele (@_mattsteele_), photography doesn’t always have to be a serious matter. For this April Fool’s Day, Matt—who’s “always doing something silly”—shares his thoughts on combining creativity and humor.

"In terms of a photograph, I’m drawn to silliness because it gives me the opportunity to create something unique and share it," Matt explains. "I have an incredibly tight-knit group of friends here in Ohio, and each of us are funny in our own distinct way so we’re always exchanging laughs."

Many of Matt’s photos are visual takes on wordplay and often make up part of his #WHPwhoopsie and #autocorrectgonefishing series, which are either puns on the Instagram Weekend Hashtag Project or scenes built out of humorous autocorrect malfunctions.

As Matt tells it, “The ‘whoopsie’ started when Instagram chose #WHPlighthouse as their weekend project. Arkansas isn’t exactly close to any lighthouses. I thought it would be fun to make a typo out of ‘lighthouse’ and photograph the result by creating something fun and silly, which happened to be a horse with a light bulb glued to it (‘lighthorse’).”

From there, the lighthearted series has grown into a weekly staple, with many looking forward to Matt’s creations and some even creating their own spin-offs as well. “When I posted the first whoopsie, I remember someone telling me to ‘please do this every weekend,’ so it stuck ever since. The encouragement I get to keep creating, as well as seeing other Instagrammers contributing their interpretation of the idea is what keeps me going.”

Can you guess the wordplay behind any of Matt’s photos above? Click on each to see the captions and inspiration for each project.


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Hashtag Highlight: #aprilfools on Instagram

To view more photos and videos from April Fools’ Day around the world, explore the #aprilfools, #aprilfoolsday, #aprilscherz and #poissondavril on Instagram.

Every year on April 1, people around the world celebrate April Fools’ Day. Though exact origins are unclear, the unofficial holiday has been popular since medieval times. Some Instagrammers celebrated the day by playing especially visual practical jokes on one other.


User Feature, 3191 miles apart, home decor, craft, coffee,

Mornings and Evenings: 3191 Miles Apart

To view more photos from Maria and Steph, follow @3191milesapart on Instagram and visit their blog, 3191 Miles Apart.

Long before Instagram began, Maria Alexandra Vettese and Stephanie Congdon Barnes found each other online and bonded over a mutual love of craft and simple domesticity. Living 3191 miles (5135 km) apart in the US cities of Portland, Maine, and Portland, Oregon, the two began a year-long project posting a diptych of their morning view side-by-side on their blog, 3191 Miles Apart.

They enjoyed the experience so much that they ran a subsequent year-long project of evenings, eventually met each other in person and later started a quarterly magazine, blog and shop together. Instagram was the natural next step for their daily photos of coffee and cereal.

"We decided to start the Instagram account to recapture some of the spirit of how 3191 Miles Apart began," explains Steph. "Instagram allows us to celebrate the everyday again." The pair alternate in posting photos from their morning and evening scenes with the signatures "MAV" for Maria and "SCB" for Steph, as well as some additions from newer members of the team.

"What I have loved about being on Instagram with my 3191 team is how our posts play off and interact with each other much as MAV’s and my photos did in our Year of Mornings and Evenings projects. I love to look at our grid of photos every now and again. Inevitably, the colors and shapes complement each other in amazing ways."