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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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art, vintage, crafts, user feature, paper cutouts, Jorge Miranda, Instagram,

The Lives of @yorch_miranda’s Paper Cutouts

To see more scenes from Jorge’s creative mind, follow @yorch_miranda on Instagram.

For Miami filmmaker Jorge Miranda (@yorch_miranda), working with miniature paper dolls provides a refreshing flexibility. “These photos have become for me a faster way to express my ideas with actors that don’t complain and don’t need to get paid,” he says.

"Using objects that we interact with in our daily lives makes it easy for people to understand and relate no matter where they come from," says Jorge, whose whimsical portraits draw inspiration from his film work and creative Instagram communities like @graphic_arts_bnw. “I hope people realize how easy is to have fun with items we see every day.”

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art, portrait, taxidermy, user feature, chipito, instagram,

Bringing Taxidermy Back to Life with @chipito

To see more of Chipito’s surrealist taxidermy scenes, follow @chipito on Instagram.

"Bringing things that are not meant to be together into one image creates a new, disrupted story that hopefully inspires people," says Chipito (@chipito), the anonymous alter ego of two Belgian creative directors.

Chipito’s haunting, surreal photos bring together a love of photography, a desire to explore abandoned locations and a fascination with taxidermy that stretches back 25 years. “Our home is like a giant Wunderkammer,” Chipito explains. “It’s an inexhaustible source of inspiration.”

The jarring masked figures, says Chipito, are supposed to make the viewer feel a sense of unease. “We’ve always been passionate about controversy and curiosities, ” he says. “The ugliness is a reaction against the overdose of beauty in the media, and the masks against the voyeurism of social media and government surveillance.”

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marawa, hula hoop, circus, marawa the amazing, user feature, Instagram, photography,

Circling the Globe with Hula Hoop Champion @marawa the Amazing

For more photos and videos from her hula-hooping adventures around the world, follow @marawa on Instagram.

For Instagrammer Marawa Wamp (@marawa) better known as Marawa the Amazing, hula hooping isn’t just a backyard activity—it’s a way of life.

"I am a professional hula hooper," says Marawa, who lives a nomadic lifestyle traveling, performing and teaching hula hooping around the world. "I studied hoops at circus school—true story—but there wasn’t much of a hooping community back then. It was either hooping in the circus or hooping dancing at a festival, neither of which I really got into. I worked at finding the types of shows and events that I wanted to be a part of and now have established a style that is kind of its own thing."

Marawa’s hooping travels have led her onstage with major musicians, to fashion weeks in London and Paris and even into founding her own junior league, The Majorettes (@themajorettes), who teach classes of their own in London. Marawa also once famously spun 160 hoops simultaneously, breaking a world record.

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photography, chicago, photojournalism, instagram, news, user feature,

Stories from Chicago’s South Side with @jonlowenstein

To see more scenes from daily life on Chicago’s South Side and learn the stories behind the images, follow @jonlowenstein on Instagram.

Photographer Jon Lowenstein (@jonlowenstein) came to Chicago’s South Side on an assignment fifteen years ago and made a home in the poverty-ravaged neighborhood. He began photographing his community with SX-70 and 4x5 film cameras, leaving a trail of Polaroid portraits with his new neighbors who nicknamed him “Photoman”. He transformed vacant apartments within his housing complex into community exhibition spaces called “The Island”, and taught photography classes at a local elementary school.

“When I started the project on the South Side, analog was the only way to go. Nowadays so many people in the ‘hood use Instagram that it is a real way to communicate on a local level, as well as national and international,” Jon says.

He credits his college classmate, David Guttenfelder (@dguttenfelder), for exposing him to Instagram, where he now pairs images from his neighborhood with the stories behind them. “I believe that the iPhone is the new Polaroid: I love that I can share my thoughts and observations in real time as I do the work. I find this part most satisfying when I can actually talk with people who I don’t know about issues that I cover.”

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weekend hashtag project, WHPlightsatnight, fireworks, Instagram, photography,

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPLightsAtNight

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 #WHPLightsAtNight, which asked participants to take creative photos and videos of lights at night. 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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tour de france, tdf2014, current events, Instagram, cycling, tdf,

Following the 2014 Tour de France on Instagram

To view more photos and videos from the Tour de France, follow @letourdefrance on Instagram and browse the #letour, #tourdefrance2014 and #tdf hashtags.

The Tour de France (@letourdefrance) officially kicked off this weekend in Yorkshire, England. Covering a distance of 3,664 kilometres (2,276 miles), the 101st tour starts in Leeds and Sheffield. After snaking through mainland France, as well as parts of Belgium and Spain, the final stages take place in the Périgueux region, leading up to the finish line at the Champs-Élysées in Paris on July 27.

Want to get a first-hand look at the the Tour de France? Be sure to follow these Instagrammers:

  • Le Tour de France, official account of Le Tour de France — @letourdefrance
  • Chris Froome, cyclist from Great Britain — @chrisfroome
  • Mark Cavendish, cyclist from Great Britain — @markcavendish
  • Team Sky, British competing team — @teamsky
  • Peter Sagan, cyclist from Slovakia — @petosagan

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minimal, User Feature, india, assam, Instagram,

Minimalist Scenes from Assam, India with @prince_sarmah

For more photos and videos from Prince, follow @prince_sarmah on Instagram.

19-year-old Instagrammer Prince Sarmah (@prince_sarmah) captures and shares minimalist scenes from his hometown of Assam, India. “I don’t even know how this style is developing—maybe I am more attracted to minimalist style to show how simple things can be influential.”

Most of Prince’s subjects are things he finds out in the streets such as animals, fruit stands and bikes. Instead of capturing them in their context such as in landscapes, he has a unique way of closing in on the focal point. “I don’t like to put the subject in the middle, so I cut out a portion of it and put it in a corner,” Prince explains. He also makes a conscious decision to shoot subjects “based on their relation with light.”

"Indian culture is rich in art, but due to the faster moving life here, people get less time to focus on it," says Prince. He feels strongly about motivating the younger generation to be more proactive about exploring their creativity. "I am influencing my friends to use Instagram, and someday, I want to organize an InstaMeet here, too.”

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the week on instagram, Instagram, pride, Architecture, vegetables, cats,

The Week on Instagram | 138

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animals, lol, motorcycles, user feature, sidecardog, instagram,

Summertime #SidecarDog Adventures with @3wheels2pals1tail

To see more photos and videos of #sidecardog summer adventures, follow @3wheels2pals1tail and their friends @nelsonthegoldendoodle and @arawithspirit.

A road trip to California with her German Shepherd mix Dante inspired Melissa Monno (@3wheels2pals1tail) to take the plunge on a motorcycle and sidecar.

"He loves car rides so much," Melissa explains, but she yearned for a more adventurous mode of transportation. "I do a lot of hiking and camping and he’s been with me everywhere, from weekend getaways to week-long backpacking trips in the wilderness." Dreaming of a motorcycle but not wanting to leave Dante behind, she opted for a sidecar. "Wind in my hair, dog at my side in an off-road adventure bike!"

Inspired by other #sidecardogs like @nelsonthegoldendoodle and @arawithspirit, Melissa made sure to have lots of treats on hand and take it slow. “It took him two or three weeks to get used to it,” she says. But after months of rides close to home, Dante and Melissa are prepared for a summer full of sidecar adventures.

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Location Feature, chile, water cave, latin america, kayak,

Up close inside Chile’s watery Marble Cathedral

To see more photos and videos from Marble Cathedral, browse the #catedralesdemarmol hashtag and explore the Lago General Carrera location page.

Instagrammers from around the world trek to Catedral de Marmol, or the “Marble Cathedral,” on Chile’s General Lake Carrera to photograph the dazzling series of water-filled caves and tunnels. The unique rock structures were formed by over 6,000 years of waves crashing against the Patagonian Andes, and geologists attribute the water’s intense blue to the presence of finely ground glacial silt. The Marble Cathedral can be explored by boat or kayak, allowing adventurers to get an up-close look.

Though beautiful, the Catedrales de Marmol are not easy to reach. Adventurers must fly 1287 kilometers (800 miles) from Santiago to the city of Coyhaique, and brave an additional 322 kilometers (200 miles) of dirt roads to reach General Lake Carrera.