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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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Signposts of Culture on an Unconventional Road with @mattslaby

To see more from photojournalist Matt Slaby’s test kitchen of photographic experiments, follow @mattslaby on Instagram.

Matt Slaby (@mattslaby) is a 6-foot-7 colorblind photographer based in Denver who was once told by Salman Rushdie that he was “too tall.” His Instagram photos are populated by spacemen, abandoned nuclear missile silos and fictional stories written for found snapshots.

"The signposts of culture are really set by the outliers and the weirdos," Matt says. He describes Instagram as his "test kitchen" for experimenting, receiving feedback and understanding “how subjects view their own world and what items they are tuned into."

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Matt traveled an “unconventional road into the creative world,” working his way through university and law school as a wilderness firefighter and an metropolitan EMT before taking on photography full time—just a month after passing his law exams.

"I love how things take on apparent order when you view them from a macro or micro perspective," he says. "It’s the middle distance that’s confusing, chaotic and kinda absurd."

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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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Documenting the US-Mexico Border with Charles Ommanney

To see more photos from Charles’s work in Mexico and across the world, follow @charlesommanney on Instagram.

A desire to better understand the immigration debate brought photographer Charles Ommanney (@charlesommanney) to the United States’ border with Mexico.

"I flew from my home in Miami to Houston, Texas, where I bought an old Land Rover," says Charles, who then spent the next three weeks traveling 3,000 miles along the border. His journey, and the stories he heard along the way, left a powerful impression. "Many of the people found by the Border Patrol in southern Texas are arriving after traveling for weeks across difficult terrain, having given everything they have to the ‘coyotes’ that promised them a better life in the U.S. I found the spectacle of people realizing that the journey was over for them very depressing."

Through his photos and through The Fence, a forthcoming three-part documentary for MSNBC (@msnbcphoto), Charles hopes people “will see the facts and be able to make up their own minds about the complexities of this subject.”

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Marking the 450th Anniversary of William Shakespeare’s Birth

For more photos from the sites of William’s Shakespeare life, explore the Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Globe Theater and Shakespeare’s Grave location pages.

Every year at the end of April, a celebration of the life and works of the great playwright William Shakespeare takes place in the market town of Stratford-upon-Avon, England. Shakespeare was born there in 1564 and cultural celebrations in Stratford’s streets, with entertainers, street performers and traditional Morris dancers, go back hundreds of years.

From his plays to his sonnets, Shakespeare’s extensive works have produced a legacy of characters, ideas, histories and, of course, words—it is thought he contributed more than 2,000 to the English language. His plays are a staple on many school curriculums, and continue to be reinterpreted on stage, rewritten in fiction and retold on screen.

The man himself is still very much a mystery and few details exist about his private life. Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway with whom he bore three children, before relocating to London to pursue his acting and writing career. He died at the age of 52 on April 23, 1616—a date which fell very near to his birthday in the same month (the exact date is unknown).

This year marks the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth and, on Saturday, a special procession will take place in Stratford, ending with celebrants laying flowers on Shakespeare’s grave in the Holy Trinity Church. The world-renowned Royal Shakespeare Company will also host a full program of shows.

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Documenting the Kiev Protests on Instagram

To view more photos and videos from the protests in Kiev, visit the Independence Square and Barricades location pages or browse the #Kiev, #киев, #євромайдан and #euromaidan hashtags on Instagram.

Protests in the Ukraine capital of Kiev have escalated this week with barricades being set up in Independence Square. Instagrammers have taken to their phones to document the uprising through photos and videos of the protests.

Scenes show clashes with riot police as President Viktor Yanukovich enters into crisis talks while demonstrators continue to call for his resignation. The movement began after a landmark trade pact with the European Union was rejected.

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Celebrating the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

To see more from Instagrammers celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and volunteering across the United States, browse the #dayofservice, #MLK and #martinlutherkingday hashtags. For more photos and videos from landmarks remembering MLK, explore the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site location pages.

On Monday, citizens across the United States celebrate the memory and achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a key leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement throughout the 1950s and 60s. King fought against racial segregation in the United States and encouraged the practice of non-violent protest and free speech as means to change. King was an instrumental organizer of the 1963 March on Washington where he delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech to an audience of nearly 300,000 people.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was officially established as a US federal holiday in 1986. It is celebrated on the third Monday of January, which falls around the time of King’s birthday on January 15. Many now take this holiday as a day of service, dedicating time to work with volunteer organizations throughout the country.

Looking for inspiration for how you can make a difference? Check out the good deeds done by Instagrammers around the world over the past weekend for #WHPhelpinghand.

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Remembering Nelson Mandela

To view more photos and videos from Instagrammers remembering Nelson Mandela, visit the #madiba, #mandela and #nelsonmandela hashtags.

People around the world are gathering to remember and celebrate the life of Nelson “Madiba” Mandela who died late on Thursday. Mandela led the fight against apartheid in South Africa. In 1963, he was arrested and spent the next 27 years in prison. Local and international pressure for his release escalated in the late 1980s, and on February 11, 1990, he was released from prison. Mandela was elected President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, the first black South African to hold the office.

Crowds have grown outside Mandela’s house in Johannesburg as people all over the world remember and celebrate his life. To see more images and videos from the many vigils taking place today, visit these location pages:

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Instagram Three Years Later

Three years ago today, Instagram launched to the world. Since then, we’ve seen people all around the globe join Instagram to share their lives through photos and videos.

This year, the community experienced a number of important moments. We surpassed 150 million people who use Instagram every month, saw the first InstaMeet in Russia and introduced a new medium: video. We’re humbled and excited to watch the Instagram community continue to grow and thrive.

To celebrate the global community, this week we highlighted three stories of friendships made on Instagram. To view those stories, visit the links below:

Who I Follow

Introducing Instagram Web Embeds

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Today, we’re excited to introduce web embedding for Instagram content and bring you an easy way to add Instagram photos and videos to the stories you want to tell.

Now, when you visit an Instagram photo or video page on your desktop web browser, you’ll see a new share button on the right side of your photo (just under the comments button). Click the button to see the embed code. Copy the block of text it gives you and paste it into your blog, website or article. When you hit publish, the photo or video will appear.

As always, you own your photos and videos, and we want to make sure that’s understood no matter where your content appears. Whether you want to embed your video on your blog or a friend wants to feature your photo on a website, everyone will clearly see that your content belongs to you. Your embedded photo or video appears with your Instagram username, and clicking on the Instagram logo will take people to your page on Instagram.com where they can discover more of your photos and videos.

Is your content private? Then nothing has changed. Embed code is only available to those whose photos and videos are public.

For more information about web embedding, check out the Instagram Help Center.