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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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Photography, underwater photography, mermaid, user feature, Instagram,

Diving Deep with Real-Life Mermaid @hannahmermaid

To keep up with Hannah’s underwater adventures, follow @hannahmermaid on Instagram.

Mermaid model Hannah Fraser (@hannahmermaid) doesn’t just have a passion for deep water, she considers the ocean to be her workspace. Outside coming face-to-face with whales, manta rays or even sharks, the most challenging part of her job is staying calm and maintaining a natural appearance while underwater. “I need to slow my heartbeat down by mentally relaxing, going into a meditative state where I am not thinking about anything other than where I am and the feeling of being comfortable and at one with the underwater world. This is especially important if I am swimming with wild animals.”

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Photography, landscape, nature, australia, sydney, Local Lens, User Feature, Instagram,

#LocalLens: Interacting with the Natural Landscapes around Sydney

In this series, local Instagrammers show you their favorite places to shoot around where they live. To see more photos of Sydney’s diverse natural landscapes, follow @twistdee on Instagram.

“What I love about Sydney is the beautiful coastlines and ocean mixed in with funky urban settings,” says Instagrammer Denise Kwong (@twistdee) for this month’s edition of #LocalLens.

While Sydney’s signature skylines and urban cityscape offer picturesque big-city moments, the scenes that Denise especially likes to share on Instagram feature the spectacular nature surrounding the coastal city. Some of Denise’s favorite places to explore and shoot include rock fishing at Maroubra Beach, seaside swimming at Mahon Pool, the rocky shorelines of Turimetta Beach and the high peaks and cliffs of the Blue Mountains.

Denise takes a minimalist approach when shooting and often gets her friends to interact with the landscape in interesting ways. “The formation and positioning of that cloud allowed me to try something creative, so I got my friend to pose for me,” reflects Denise as she explains about a photo taken at Flat Rocks in the Blue Mountains. “I am forever inspired by different photographers and artists, and thus my style is always evolving.”

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Photography, Photojournalism, Documentary, environment, california, Black and White, matt black, geography of poverty, User Feature, Instagram,

Mapping the Geography of Poverty with @mattblack_blackmatt in California’s Central Valley

To see more scenes from the California Central Valley and learn more about The Geography of Poverty project, follow @mattblack_blackmatt on Instagram.

Photojournalist Matt Black (@mattblack_blackmatt) shares stark black and white images from the farmlands of California’s rural Central Valley, where he was born and raised.

“It just hasn’t seemed right for me to go to some far-flung place when there are so many stories and important things to do right around me,” he explains.

To convey the impact of years of drought and economic hardship, Matt launched the Geography of Poverty project on Instagram, where he weaves together a landscape of photos, census data and map coordinates.

“I’m trying to portray a certain environment, to build a world,” he continues. “The goal of the project is to quite literally put places on the map.”

As one of the founding members of EverydayUSA (@everydayusa), he now joins a dozen photographers who collaborate to share stories of life across the country. “Everyone is pursuing their own distinct thing,” says Matt, “but together the work is making a different sort of statement.”

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Instagram, Photography, design, coffee, User Feature, hashtag highlight,

Fake coffee branding with @luftaffe

To see more photos of Illarion’s designs on coffee cups, use a #fakecoffeebranding hashtag and follow @luftaffe

“If you want to create a coffee-themed design, coffee cups are the best choice,” says Russia Instagrammer Illarion Gordon (@luftaffe), who posts photos of coffee cups that he has illustrated with unusual drawings. “My wife is a barista, and I use coffee cups as a place for my ideas. I just took a felt tip and drew a design on the white cup.” As a designer by day, Illarion’s experimentations on coffee cups has allowed him to explore a new perspective on branding and develop his illustrations. “I create cups with melancholic and existentialist designs that would never exist in real life from real coffee brands.”

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weekend hashtag project, WHPtimelapse, time lapse, hyperlapse, Hot Air Balloon,

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPtimelapse

Weekend Hashtag Project is a series featuring designated themes and 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 #WHPtimelapse, which asked participants to capture creative time lapse videos. 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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photography, film, art, design, Simon Chaudoir, noir, filmmaking, portrait, user feature, instagram,

Stealing Moments on Set with @simonchaudoir

To see more playful portraits, follow @simonchaudoir on Instagram.

The Instagram photos of a fellow film director first inspired Simon Chaudoir’s (@simonchaudoir) playful, sometimes macabre, portraits. “For a long time I had the image in my mind of myself lying on a studio floor having been crushed by a falling lamp,” explains Simon, who leads a harried, globetrotting life directing music videos and commercials. “It expressed something that I felt about my working life. I realized that Instagram gave me the platform to explore such images.”

With filmmaking equipment and backdrops at his disposal, Simon crafts jarring photos that draw from elements of Renaissance paintings, surrealist photography and the avant-garde. “Way, way, back I studied Fine Art,” says Simon of his university years. “This was the first time since then that I had the pleasure of producing something purely for my own pleasure and amusement.”

“Sometimes when I accept a job, knowing the equipment that’s going to be used and the people involved, I’ve already conceived what the picture of the day will be,” he says. But the photos themselves tend to come together quickly. “All my pictures are taken in snatched moments when I am working for other people,” he says, “lunch-breaks, lulls in shooting or when we wrap.”

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Photography, sneakers, design, street style, photoshop, Artists on Tumblr, User Feature, Instagram,

Sneaker Mashups and the Art of @filfury

To see more creative sneaker mashups from Phil Robson, follow @filfury on Instagram.

“I hate sneakers getting old and tired. My art acts as a way of preserving them,” say UK graphic artist and director Phil Robson, aka “Fury” (@filfury).

Using his own photographs and some Photoshop ingenuity, Fury creates digital sneaker mashups of things like insects, bats, skulls and moths. To create a butterfly from a pair of Nike Air Max 93s, Phil plays off the sneaker’s various textures. “I love the shoe’s paneling, the soft curves of the upper and the harsh rubber chiseled sole. The two surfaces contrast, and makes me think about a before and after, like the soft wings of a butterfly have come from the hard casing on the cocooned sole.”

Fury is especially drawn to objects that have bold forms, symmetry, and sharp angles. “I love taking the recognizable textures from my favorite shoes and making a new form with them,” he says. “I guess it was a natural progression for me to mix my passions.”

His digital artwork shared on Instagram began as a passion project but is now developing into some real life sculpture interpretations. “Next level for me,” Fury says, “would be to direct an animated piece based off my mashup stylings. I’m just waiting for the brief.”

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Photography, Instagram, the week on instagram,

The Week on Instagram | 146

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photography, art, sculpture, Balazs Gardi, Jessica Rose Yurasek, Black Rock City, Burning Man, Location Feature, Nevada, Instagram,

Radical Self-Expression at the Burning Man Festival in Black Rock City

To view more photos and videos from Black Rock City, explore the Burning Man location page, browse the #BM2014 hashtag and follow @missjessrose on Instagram.

“It’s way more than you can imagine,” says Jessica Rose Yurasek (@missjessrose), describing Black Rock City, the site of the annual Burning Man festival. Each year, a global tribe of artists, makers and performers converge in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, birthing a pop-up city of more than 60,000 “Burners” and their acts of radical self-expression.

In contrast to an inhospitable physical terrain, which ranges from scorching heat to torrential rain, Jessica sees Black Rock City as an inspirational place of generosity and creativity. The weeklong gathering culminates with the burning of a towering wooden effigy known at “the Man,” and then disperses, taking care to leave no trace in the desert.

“If we as humanity can build this,” she says, “then I have hope for our future.”

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Photography, design, Art, Artists on Tumblr, Brooklyn, chelsea cates, quinn corbin, c + c mini factory, User Feature, Instagram,

The Strange, Small World of C+C Mini Factory

For more photos and videos from the strange world of C+C Mini Factory, follow @ccminifactory on Instagram.

For Chelsea Cates and Quinn Corbin, each fantastical C+C Mini Factory (@ccminifactory) photo begins with their vast collection of miniatures and found images. “The tone is meant to be playful and theatrical,” Chelsea says. “Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s absurd, and sometimes we’re not even sure what those animals are up to—they have secrets.”

Their last initials—and nostalgia—inspired the name. “We’re children of the 90s so it seemed appropriate for our name to be a nod to 90s pop culture,” Chelsea says, “and the fact that we don’t take ourselves too seriously.”