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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, 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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Instagram, portrait, hashtag highlight, Photography, portraits, portraitwithoutface, User Feature,

Capturing Portraits without Faces with @the69th

For more portraits without faces, browse the #portraitwithoutface hashtag and follow Anna Pavlova (@the69th) on Instagram.

“‘Why is the person in the portrait always turned away from you’, everyone asks me,” says Russia Instagrammer Anna Pavlova (@the69th), whose #portraitwithoutface hashtag series features photos lacking faces. “My photos have people who don’t show their faces, but there are still people in the shot,” she explains. “Portraits without faces are like an open-ended romance. Everyone can think what they like about the shot. Is this person in the portrait happy or not? Maybe the person is excited or just calmly enjoying the world around.” Want to try taking a #portraitwithoutface shot of your own? “Use different angles and props for the shot,” Anna advises. “For example, use green leaves, basketball balls or matte glass to cover the face in the shot.” She adds, “Do not forget about backgrounds such as a picturesque landscape or a colorful wall—there are a lot of angles worth exploring to make your faceless portrait unique!”

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portrait, WHPtodayimet, weekend hashtag project, Photography, Instagram,

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPtodayimet

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 #WHPtodayimet, which asked participants to get outside of their comfort zones, make new friends and share portraits with their stories. 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, design, portrait, art, self portrait, new york city, artists on tumblr, user feature, hashtag highlight, instagram,

Finding a Creative Complement with @wadejeffree and @letasobierajski

To see more imaginative portraits from Leta and Wade, follow @letasobierajski and @wadejeffree on Instagram.

“Usually we send each other ideas, sketches and imagery throughout the week leading up to our shoot,” says Leta Sobierajski (@letasobierajski), who collaborates with partner Wade Jeffree (@wadejeffree) on Complements, a weekly series of unconventional portraits. “We’re inspired both by hilarious couple photography from the Internet and beautiful imagery from couples in history.”

Wade, a graphic designer, and Leta, an art director, shoot the photos in their Brooklyn apartment. “We wanted to collaborate,” explains Wade, “but the opportunity hadn’t arisen.” So the duo decided to explore their creativity—and relationship—through collaborative portraits. “The portraiture often becomes surreal, funny and romantic,” says Leta, “and it helps depict our personalities and the way we think together.”

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weekend hashtag project, WHPtodayimet, Photography, portrait, Instagram,

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPtodayimet

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.

The goal this weekend is to get outside of your comfort zone, make a new friend and share a portrait with his or her story in your caption.

Some tips to get you started:

  • This project is as much about the caption as it is the photo. Approach someone, introduce yourself and only ask to take a portrait after you’ve been able to chat for a while. As you talk with people, don’t be afraid to ask surprising questions: ask about their pasts, learn about their goals and try to discover what inspires them.
  • If you’re not feeling up to chatting with strangers, strike up a conversation with a coworker or neighbor you’ve always wanted to get to know better. For those starting school, use this project as an opportunity to meet new classmates, people in your dorm or even teachers and professors.
  • When shooting your portrait, think about how the photo can help tell the person’s story. Elements like environment, body language and even the lighting can say a lot, so be sure to keep them in mind.

For more ideas and inspiration, check out Instagrammer Branden Harvey (@brandenharvey), the creator of #storyportrait, and his tips for learning about new friends.

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

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photography, documentary, Photojournalism, london, street style, portrait, fashion, damien frost, alternative, Instagram, user feature,

On the Fringes of London’s Street Style with Damien Frost

To see more photos of the characters Damien captures, follow @harmonyhalo on Instagram.

“I’m often attracted to the more flamboyantly dressed—people living their own opera and acting out their theater on the street.”

Damien Frost (@harmonyhalo) is an Australian graphic designer who lives in London, where he makes posters for ballet and opera houses. Though self-described as reserved and conservatively dressed, Damien is drawn to the eccentric. Every day after work, he searches the city—sometimes for hours—until he has a “random encounter” that produces a portrait of a stranger’s creative style.

“I’m attracted to people on the fringes, whether that be on the fringe of fashion or gender or just what is considered mainstream,” Damien says, “but sometimes it might just be a little subtle touch, a flower in the hair, nice makeup or just a general style that the person seems to be inhabiting very well.”

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photography, women, human rights, child marriage, stephanie sinclair, too young to wed, india, User Feature, social change, instagram, portrait,

Inspiring Change and an End to Child Marriage with @stephsinclairpix

To learn more about the stories behind the pictures, follow @stephsinclairpix and @tooyoungtowed on Instagram. To see how you can get involved, visit the Too Young To Wed website and the Girl Summit website.

“She looked at me with tears in her eyes and spoke quietly, ‘In my whole life, I have never felt love.’ I continued to hear similar stories as I traveled, researching and photographing child marriage in countries like Nepal, Ethiopia, India and Yemen, Tanzania, South Sudan and even Europe and the US,” says photographer Stephanie Sinclair (@stephsinclairpix), who has spent more than a decade documenting the abuse of women and girls around the world.

Stephanie’s long-term photography project, Too Young To Wed (@tooyoungtowed), joins the UK’s Department for International Development and UNICEF at the first Girl Summit in London.

"I wanted to make sure that we got these images and stories in front of diplomats and policy makers who could enforce laws and support programs to provide more protection for these girls," she says. "I was sure if the rest of the world understood their lives as I had come to, real change wouldn’t be far behind."

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Architecture, landscape, portrait, local lens, singapore, user feature, photography, instagram,

Local Lens: Venturing off the Beaten Path in Singapore with @m_herwin

In this series, local Instagrammers show you their favorite places to shoot around where they live. To find refuge from Singapore’s busy city life, follow @m_herwin on Instagram.

"There is more to Singapore than those big, tall buildings that you see in travel pamphlets," says local Instagrammer Herwin van Johari (@m_herwin), who seeks out the quiet sanctuaries nestled in one of the most densely populated cities in the world.

For visiting nature enthusiasts, Herwin suggests a visit to the Southern Ridges, a 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) trail that connects five of the city’s public parks. “The trail offers many vantage points that give you an amazing view of the city from some of the highest points in Singapore.” Other lush, photogenic escapes favored by Herwin include the Singapore Botanic Garden and MacRitchie Reservoir.

"If you are adventurous enough to explore further from the main island," says Herwin, "take a short boat trip to Pulau Ubin. Singapore is preserved in its rustic form here, and it’s a complete break away from the modern city.”

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history, portrait, art, Nelson Mandela, Mandela Day, photography, Instagram,

Paying Tribute to Madiba on Mandela Day

To see more tributes to activist and former South African president Nelson Mandela, explore the #MandelaDay and #Madiba hashtags.

Nelson Mandela was only 33 years old when a speech he gave incited a protest in Durban and first landed him in jail. Over the next 10 years, Mandela would be arrested three more times for his work fighting South Africa’s oppressive apartheid regime until a 1962 conviction for sedition sent him to prison for the next 27 years.

“I was hoping to capture some sense of the hardships he suffered,” retired Johannesburg math lecturer Vivien Budge (@vivbudge) says of the young Mandela portrait she painted, “the anger he must have felt at the injustices he witnessed and the relentless tenacity, determination and courage with which he fought for his beliefs.”

After his release in 1990, Mandela helped bring an end to apartheid in South Africa and became the country’s first black democratically elected President. Mandela, who died last December but would have been 96 today, continues to inspire South Africans and others around the world to this 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.”