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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, Art, Crafts, Artists on Tumblr, User Feature, Tokyo, Japan, felt doll, Instagram,

Inside @fujitasanpuru’s Tiny World of Chimchiminey, the Chimney Sweep

For more photos and videos of Chimchiminey and its friends, follow @fujitasanpuru on Instagram.

“The concept of my work is a dreamy, cute world that people might believe could exist somewhere,” says a Tokyo doll maker who goes by the pseudonym Fujita Sanpuru (@fujitasanpuru). Through his photos, he tells the story of the chimney sweep Chimchiminey and his devoted helper Heso-guma (“belly button bear”).

Fujita Sanpuru uses felt and embroidery threads to create these pint-sized figurines, focusing on bringing the right balance of detail and simplicity to the handicraft. He then arranges the characters on table tops, in gardens or in their small and colorful dollhouses to create scenes like the pages from a children’s picture book.

The tiny felted figures actually originated when he first started using Instagram and made a prop for his first photo. Soon after sharing the Chimchiminey series, he began receiving numerous offers to sell and display his work. He reflects on his experience, “I never thought the dolls would take off like this when I started Instagram, but I’m just happy if people find them delightful.”

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photography, art, design, letterpress, vintage, typography, robots, user feature, illustration, instagram,

Exploring the Creative Limits of Letterpress with @churchoftype

On this day in 1452, Johann Gutenberg printed the very first book using a printing press with movable type. More than 550 years later, Gutenberg’s invention continues to unlock creative expression. To see more unconventional letterpress creations from Kevin Bradley, follow @churchoftype on Instagram.

Kevin Bradley (@churchoftype) has spent the past 21 years pushing letterpress to its creative limits. “It wants to be art,” Kevin says of his chosen medium, which he gravitated towards in school because he saw it as a middle ground between graphic design and fine art. Evolution, he explains, is part of his process. “I’ve tortured the space of 18”x24” in every imaginable way over the years, and moving up in size has been the key to revitalizing the entire experience.”

Kevin recently moved to Santa Monica, California, uprooting himself after nearly two decades in Knoxville, Tennessee. The change of scenery brought with it much needed creative inspiration. “There’s a lot going on here,” he says. “I’m discovering a whole community. I definitely feel as though I’m a new animal here.”

His recent works reshape the familiar forms of typography into pictures. “I approach these more as paintings than prints,” he says. “Each is one of a kind.” By constructing images from type, explains Kevin, “I am able to create layers of information that contribute to an overall narrative.”

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Instagram, cartoon, lion king, despicable me, france, User Feature, Photography,

Cartoon Characters Brought to Life with @francoisdourlen

For more childlike plays on the world around him, follow @francoisdourlen on Instagram.

“It’s not a question of the camera lens, just a question of the moment, imagination and expression,” says Instagrammer François Dourlen (@francoisdourlen), a teacher from Normandy, France. Inspired by the daily scenes around him, François is reminded of characters from popular culture and animation films. “I don’t really choose photos to put with the background,” he explains. “The background makes me think about pictures I’ve seen.”

His playful style inserts cartoon characters on real life backgrounds to delight his followers—and himself. He adds: “My message to the world is: ‘Do not forget to look at the world through a child’s eyes.’”

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Instagram, User Feature, Photography, symmetry, russia,

The Dynamic Life through the Symmetry Perspective

To see more photos of heroes in Sasha’s symmetrical world, follow sashalevin on Instagram.

Moscow Instagrammer Sasha Levin (@sashalevin) is always on the lookout for heroes in the landscapes and spaces around him. What turns an ordinary person into a hero? For Sasha, the answer is unexpected: symmetry. “The symmetry of a shot is an empty canvas for my creativity—I try to highlight a perfect symmetrical angle through the people in the composition,” he explains. “My eyes always spot people in the background. It‘s allowed me to show dynamic life in a static frame.” Sasha’s photography focuses on the intimate relationship between people and the space they occupy. “If somebody were ask me, ‘Where is beauty in the world?’” he explains, “I would answer that it is in symmetry.”

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Photography, Art, street art, graffiti, latin america, mexico city, Location Feature, User Feature,

Treasure Hunting in Mexico City with @lanzgg

For more photos of Jacinta’s street treasures, follow @lanzgg on Instagram.

“This city is a place full of life, loud noises and big smiles. It is saturated with colors and flavors,” explains Mexico City Instagrammer Jacinta Lanz (@lanzgg). Though Jacinta is originally from Dayton, Ohio, she moved to Mexico City as a young child and has found artistic inspiration in her adopted country ever since. “I’m on the lookout for color, decay and people. When I find all of those things together, I feel like I’ve won the lottery. Places that look forgotten, old, dirty or even ugly often become treasures for me. I find something extraordinary, in the everyday ordinary.”

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Photography, lol, street style, bicycles, Tokyo, Japan, User Feature, Instagram, portrait,

On the Wheel’s Edge with @mamotoraman

For more photos and videos of Mamoru’s bicycle portraits, browse the #乗るオヤジ hashtag and follow @mamotoraman on Instagram.

“I’ve always been good with riding bicycles, and I thought it’d be fun to start a photo series of me riding them in creative ways,” says Tokyo Instagrammer Mamoru Kanai (@mamotoraman), who shares his “Riding Pop” series on Instagram.

He ventures out to various neighborhoods with a skilled photographer friend who captures Mamoru performing one-wheeled bicycle stunts such as “wheelies” (standing on the hind wheel) and “stoppies” (standing on the front wheel). The stunts are mostly captured in one shot, as Mamoru tries to hold the position as long as he can in the busy streets. He even adds an extra bit of challenge and humor by performing the tricks while seated as if normally riding a bicycle. He clarifies, “You’ll see it if you tilt the photo and make the bicycle straight.”

Instead of using a technical bike, however, Mamoru rides a mamachari (“mom’s bike”)—the most generic type of bicycle in Japan that often comes equipped with a basket or a child seat (or both). “The most significant point about these portraits,” he explains, “is the irony of performing stunts on ordinary bicycles that are made for moms with kids.”

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chocolate, food, design, Art, compartes, jonathan grahm, user feature, Photography, Instagram,

Inside the Sweet Life of a Chocolatier with @compartes

For more photos of Jonathan’s craft chocolate creations, follow @compartes on Instagram.

For Los Angeles chocolatier Jonathan Grahm (@compartes), the art of crafting sweets has been a lifelong project. As he explains, “I love chocolate. I think up recipes in my dreams and have a little book next to my bed where I write down flavor combinations.”

Jonathan first started making chocolate at the age of 15 and, driven by his passion, purchased a chocolate shop nine years later. Despite having no formal training, he has grown Compartes into an international brand producing small batches of over 200 different—and often unexpected—flavors.

In creating recipes ranging from blackberry sage to “Old Hollywood” (dark chocolate with smoked sea salt), inspiration often comes from Los Angeles itself: its traditions, its people and especially its farmers markets, where Jonathan finds and shares photos of the freshest ingredients. “I go to the Farmers Market on a Sunday, and on Monday morning at 10 AM when we open, there are people waiting to get the flavor of chocolate that I made with the ingredients that I was picking up.”

Channeling his upbringing and experiences in the city, Jonathan has ultimately molded Compartes into a reflection of himself: “It’s my world, likes, loves, passions and ideas spread out onto chocolate. The future only gets bigger and brighter—and more delicious—from here.”

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Instagram, Photography, sketchbook, sketch, User Feature, russia, drawing,

The Daily Diary of a Sketchbook Artist

To see more photos of Anna’s notebook sketches, follow @sally_mao on Instagram.

“The absolute truth appears in your drawing when you have no chance to change it,” says Moscow-based Instagrammer Anna Rastorgueva (@sally_mao), who creates an exquisite daily diary using only felt-tip markers. She takes inspiration from the detailed illustrations of botany and zoology books, a lifelong love of hers. “When I read ‘Brehm’s Life of Animals,’ I dreamed of meeting all the heroes from the pages of his book,” she explains. Anna draws anywhere, whether standing among thousands of people at a concert or even at a nude beach. For her, drawing is her personal space. “When I draw, I can dive deep into the moment and emotions. As Salvador Dalí said, ‘Drawing is the honesty of the art. There is no possibility of cheating. It is either good or bad.’”

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Photography, portrait, travel, africa, ghana, everydayafrica, Nana Kofi Acquah, user feature, instagram,

Moments from Ghana and Beyond with @africashowboy

To see more of Africa through Nana’s lens, follow @africashowboy on Instagram.

Africa’s relationship with photography is complicated, explains Nana Kofi Acquah (@africashowboy), a journalist and creative director-turned-photographer from Accra, Ghana. “Even though it is undeniable that African photographers saw the opportunity to fight stereotypes with their pictures, the truth was that cameras and film were extremely expensive and therefore not something to be wasted on unimportant casual moments. Today, how Ghanaians interact with photographs has changed rapidly.”

Nana’s work for businesses and non-profits takes him across Africa, and his Instagram photos reflects moments both profound and banal. “I don’t believe a photograph always needs to be dramatic, ecstatic, or tragic to pique people’s interest,” he says. “I am not afraid to photograph the mundane because I know posterity might appreciate it—and in that sense, I think like a historian. My audience is anybody who is interested to know more about Africa.”

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art, color, sketchbook, alia penner, portraits, los angeles, pop culture, User Feature, Instagram,

Chasing Pop Visions and Cartoon Dreams with @alia_pop

For more whimsical portraits and fantasy stylings, follow @alia_pop on Instagram.

“I want to create a fantastic world of hypnotic color and classic dreaminess,” says LA-based artist, Alia Penner (@alia_pop). “I have painted on people, horses, bouncy castles and even a school bus.”

Bold patterns and colors are everywhere in Alia’s work, which ranges from high-profile fashion shoots to giant, painted Starbucks cups in Hollywood. But her Instagram account feels more like a special curation of the art she makes at home—a bright mishmash of celebrity face collages and quirky magazine cutouts.

“Just for fun, I started coloring in the New York Times every Sunday, using it sort of like a sketchbook. I added color to the iconic black and white images of starlets, then put them on Instagram,” she says. “They really popped.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Alia’s daily sources of inspiration are just as eclectic as her art: she lists balloons, polish movie posters, hand-tinted films and unopened paint cans, among others. At the end of the day, though, her job is about having fun.

“My favorite projects are the ones that feel like play from start to finish,” she says. “I’m a child at heart.”