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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, WHPbwlandscapes, landscape, black and white, Photography, Instagram,

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPbwlandscapes

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 project was #WHPbwlandscapes, which asked participants to capture beautiful landscapes in black and white. 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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Art, visual arts, writing, Black and White, brazil, sao paulo, User Feature, Instagram,

Shooting letters with @verenasmit

To see more photos of Verena’s play on words follow @verenasmit on Instagram

It all started with an old typewriter and some tired expressions. “I began playing with the clichés we hear all the time,” São Paulo visual artist Verena Smit (@verenasmit), says. “I’ll cross out a letter or a word, but make it so it can still be read. While there’s a part that rejects the cliché, there’s also a part that would like to somehow embrace it.”

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WHPbwlandscapes, weekend hashtag project, Black and White, Photography, Instagram,

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPbwlandscapes

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 capture beautiful black and white landscapes. Some tips to get you started:

  • When shooting landscapes, aim to include visual elements that will make your composition dynamic. In addition to a beautiful backdrop, look for interesting foreground objects and leading lines that draw your eye deeper into the photo.
  • Try to visualize your photograph in black and white before you take it. Scope out scenes that have both bright and dark areas, as this will create a strong contrast in your final result.
  • To make your photo black and white, try the Willow and Inkwell filters. For a different effect, try applying any of your favorite filters then taking the saturation all the way to zero.

PROJECT RULES: Please only add the #WHPbwlandscapes 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, Art, portraits, Photojournalism, Black and White, social issues, User Feature, InstagrammerAbroad, Instagram,

Capturing “The Human Drama” with @qsakamaki

For more metaphorical documentary photography from Q. Sakamaki, follow @qsakamaki on Instagram.

“Through photography, we can feel, see and freeze the real essence of the human drama and share it with the world,” says Q. Sakamaki (@qsakamaki), a Japanese photographer, writer and educator. He has been living in New York for the majority of his career, documenting social issues in the United States as well as around the world for Japanese publications.

On Instagram, he shares snaps taken on his iPhone, including some experimental shots that he shares to gather feedback from the community. Whether capturing an image of a Harlem-bound subway passenger or schoolgirls in Tokyo, he strives to capture the human elements in moments that affect both individual people and society as a whole.

“My personal philosophy,” says Q, “is that all types of photography somehow contain self-metaphors, even in documentary photography and photojournalism.” As a Japanese living abroad, he takes a more intimate approach when shooting in his home country. “These days, I like to shoot the changing and unchanging scenes that could be metaphors of Japan—or even those of my identity itself.”

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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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Photography, Animals, Black and White, Oceans, shark week, scuba diving, underwater photography, how i shoot, User Feature, Instagram,

How I Shoot: Underwater Shark Photography with @michaelmuller7

For each How I Shoot, we ask an Instagrammer to tell us about their creative process. To see more of Michael’s photos from his shark expeditions, follow @michaelmuller7 and follow @discoverychannel as Michael takes over Discovery Channel’s Instagram account during Shark Week.

Michael Muller (@michaelmuller7) is on a mission to change the way we see sharks. “They are in a lot of trouble right now,” he says. “100 million are slaughtered every year, and I say slaughter because the majority of the time the shark is killed just for its fins.”

In his day job, Michael is a Hollywood-based commercial photographer renowned for his celebrity portraits and images used in box office billboards. But when he has free time, Michael devotes himself to documenting sharks in their native habitat around the world. He has even created an underwater strobe lighting system as powerful as the one in his California studio. “Realizing that I couldn’t bring the shark into the studio, I knew I would have to bring the studio to it,” he says.

The key to successful underwater shark photography, according to Michael, is staying relaxed. “Anxiety is the biggest obstacle,” he says. “If you let negative thoughts take hold then you are in for a really rough time.”

Michael uses Instagram to share images of his encounters in the deep. Here he tells us more about his process during and after his underwater excursions:

Equipment:

Phase One medium format with Nauticam, Nikon D800 with Subal Housing, Red Epic Dragon, GoPro and a “list of scuba equipment too long to enumerate.”

Vantage Point:

Because Michael rarely shoots from insides shark cages, he works closely with a team to be in the best position possible. “I have to constantly anticipate where the animal may go or do. What we look for always is what we call a ‘player,’which is a shark that is very mellow and curious that will stay around us. It is with sharks like this that magic happens.”

Shooting:

“It’s all about waiting for that right ‘moment’ to hit the trigger, which comes from 28 years experience. If you get too excited and go too fast then you miss that moment. If you wait too long you watch it happen and have the shot in your head, but no one else ever gets to witness it, so timing is everything.“

Editing:

Depending on the length of the shoot, Michael will return with between 3,000-10,000 photos. “I keep every image I take, I get rid of blank images but keep everything else,” he says. “With Instagram I usually post between 4-8 images from a particular trip.” For processing tools, Michael uses his own custom filters app MullerPhoto, and also the newest Instagram creative tools. “There are times I just go right into Instagram and just use its tools which are really getting more and more phenomenal.”

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Photography, Fashion, design, Black and White, copenhagen, cphfw, henrik vibskov, behind the scenes, current events, Instagram,

Behind the Scenes at Copenhagen Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2015

To see more behind-the-scenes moments from Copenhagen Fashion Week, follow @gittestark and explore the #cphfw hashtag.

At the spring/summer 2015 shows at Copenhagen Fashion Week (@cphfw), Instagrammer Gitte Stark (@gittestark) has been applying her dramatic, somewhat melancholic style to backstage photography for V Magazine (@vmagazine). “The best part is watching the theatrical transformation of the models, seeing them rehearse and collect their thoughts before the show begins,” she says. “It makes me realize just how much work is put into staging that one moment on the runway.”

Gitte and other Instagrammers captured behind-the-scenes moments at shows by designers including Barbara I. Gongini (@barbaragongini), Henrik Vibskov (@henrikvibskov) and Mads Nørgaard (@norgaardcph). “Barbara I. Gongini is one of my favorite designers,” she says, “because of her minimalistic but extremely dramatic universe.”

“Copenhagen Fashion Week perfectly reflects its culture,” Natasha Stagg (@natasha_stagg), online editor for V Magazine, says. “It’s all about the details that slightly adjust a tried-and-true formula.”

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music, Black and White, Lollapalooza, lolla, shy girls, dan vidmar, akila fields, Photography, Instagram, user feature,

Projecting Quiet Noise with @shygirlsmusic

For more wistful photos on the road, follow @shygirlsmusic. To see more from Lollapalooza as the festival unfolds, follow @lollapalooza and browse the #lolla hashtag.

The R&B band Shy Girls (@shygirlsmusic) takes photos to match their music—soft and soulful with the occasional playful punch.

“We try to convey a sense of place and scenes from our travels,” says keyboardist Akila Fields (@sleepyvillain), who runs the band’s Instagram account. Though Shy Girls is fronted by singer-songwriter Dan Vidmar, Dan relies on Akila’s creative eye to capture important feelings and moments from their tour.

The entire feed is in black and white, which Akila prefers because of its simplicity. “It’s something we’ve been playing with from the beginning, even in our music videos,” he says of the Portland-based band, who released their first EP last year. “There is an intimacy and a quiet energy to our music that I hope translates to the photography.”

Shy Girls are also first-time performers at Chicago’s Lollapalooza (@lollapalooza) music festival this weekend, where Akila hopes to roam the event in search of interesting shots.

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Photography, Black and White, mountain climbing, mountaineering, scotland, User Feature, Instagram, edinburgh, Ruairidh McGlynn, landscape,

Mountaineering the Scottish Highlands with @ruairidhmcglynn

To view more photos and videos from Ruairidh’s mountaineering explorations of the Highlands, follow @ruairidhmcglynn on Instagram.

"In early 2013, my brother asked me if I’d like to climb a Munro in Scotland called Schiehallion (which is famous for its distinct conical shape). I took my brother up on his offer,” says Edinburgh Instagrammer Ruairidh McGlynn (@ruairidhmcglynn), of his first mountaineering experiences in the Scottish Highlands. “At 6:00AM on a typically dreich (dull and miserable) day in January, we embarked upon the journey from Edinburgh. The summit was shrouded in cloud so there was disappointment from the seasoned veterans over the lack of view. But to me that didn’t matter because it was about this great journey and story that I’d just captured. From that moment on, I was hooked.”

Ruairidh posted an image from that trip to Instagram. Now, having invested in proper equipment and conquering 40 of the 282 of Scotland’s Munros (mountains of more than 3,000 feet or 914.4 meters), he pushes himself to capture each journey to share it with others. “Instagram is the perfect tool that allows me to convey to others the beauty of the mountains,” he explains, “the journeys that I go on and the things that you can achieve when you put your mind to it. I hope to inspire people to appreciate the outdoors and to embark upon similar adventures (responsibly and safely).”

As for photo tips to share, Ruairidh adds, “Where possible, I always like to include people to give a sense of scale and adventure balanced with dramatic weather and light, which more often than not is never far away in Scotland.”

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Art, fashion, style, minimal, madelynn furlong, wide eyed legless, Black and White, user feature, Instagram, photography,

Balancing Minimalism and Whimsy with @wideeyedlegless

For more of Madelynn’s beautifully crisp photos, follow @wideeyedlegless on Instagram.

Years ago, artist Madelynn Furlong (@wideeyedlegless) turned to Instagram in search of a new creative outlet. Madelynn is now a successful designer, stylist and blogger in Minneapolis, and her photos on Instagram continue as an expression of her art, refined into a casually elegant, almost black-and-white style.

"Over the past few years I have been slowly rooting myself in minimalism," she explains, "and my feed isn’t the only thing that has turned basically black and white—my house and wardrobe both have as well!" Although her photos often feature sleek interiors and crisp fashions, Madelynn says that it’s her own personality that makes her work special: "I focus on contrast, clean lines and the rule of thirds—but still with a heavy dose of whimsy because that is what makes me, me. When it comes down to it, just take pictures of things that you think are beautiful and inspire you. That’s all that truly matters!"