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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, 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, travel, Photojournalism, documentary, chiara goia, india, Mongolia, user feature, Instagram, Italy,

At Home in Remote Places with Documentary Photographer @chiaragoia

To see photos from Chiara’s curious journey, follow @chiaragoia on Instagram.

“Where is home? This is the most difficult question you can ask me right now.”

Documentary photographer Chiara Goia (@chiaragoia) uses Instagram as a notebook of her journeys, adding entries from sites as varied as Mediterranean seas, frozen Mongolian lakes and holy sites in India. Ascetics, nomads, fellow travelers and family members alike appear in her stream of images from a life in motion.

Though she has come to feel like “less of a stranger in remote places” than in her native Italy, Chiara describes her path as a photographer as a dream come true. As she explains, “you have to succumb to your own curiosity and let it lead you.”

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Photography, Documentary, Photojournalism, Ivan Kashinsky, Project Mi Barrio, Ecuador, Quito, Modernization, User Feature, Instagram,

Juxtapositions of Old and New in Tumbaco, Ecuador with @ivankphoto

To see more of Ivan Kashinsky’s photos from “Project Mi Barrio” follow @ivankphoto or browse the #projectmibarrio hashtag.

In the small town of Tumbaco not far from Ecuador’s bustling capital city of Quito, the traditional ways of life are changing quickly. A superhighway is under construction. A new shopping mall sells name brand clothes. Corn fields are valuable real estate for apartment buildings. The folkways passed on for generations exist simultaneously with the latest digital devices.

In his series “Project Mi Barrio” on Instagram, photojournalist Ivan Kashinsky (@ivankphoto) shares these fascinating juxtapositions taking place every day. “The Ecuador that I’ve been documenting for the last 10 years, is going through a titanic shift,” says Ivan. “Old indigenous ladies walk their cows though the streets as people wait impatiently in their brand new sparkling clean SUVs. I am watching the old Ecuador slam into the new Ecuador right in front of my eyes. It’s a double-score when the two come together face to face.”

Project Mi Barrio is also about exploring the consequences of this global shift towards modernization. “Will people be happier as we slip into the future?” he asks. “What is being lost? These are the questions I want people to be thinking about when they see my images.”

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photography, news, colorado, photojournalism, animals, User Feature, instagram, matt slaby, salman rushdie, luceo,

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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landscape, news, politics, user feature, photojournalism, Charles Ommanney, Instagram,

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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photography, documentary, photojournalism, User Feature, Instagram,

Exploring the World through the Different Photographers of @burndiary

To see more photo essays each week from contributing photographers around the world, follow @burndiary on Instagram and visit the Burn Magazine website.

When the curators of Burn Magazine, an online journal for emerging photographers, decided to start @burndiary in July 2013, they opted for a single strategy: to have a new photographer take over each week and publish a photographic diary of life around them.

“The beauty of @burndiary is that it’s a real essay in real time,” says Burn Magazine founder and photographer David Alan Harvey (@davidalanharvey). “You’re seeing it raw. People who can produce great images on a day-to-day basis on demand like this are very rare, but we get people in on the process.”

Mentoring photographers has been at the center of Harvey’s career as an assignment photographer, instructor and member of the Magnum Photos (@magnumphotos) agency. “I’ve always thought elevating the craft was a good thing,” says David. “Anyone who knows me knows I always share my secrets. On Burn, people can be part of a community and learn something useful to them. We’re all about photo education. What we’re doing on Instagram is all part of that.”

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User Feature, photojournalism, anastasia taylor-lind, portrait, negative zero,

Through the Viewfinder with @anastasiatl

To view more of Anastasia’s photos and videos, follow @anastasiatl on Instagram and visit her website.

“Traditionally, photographers are taught not to share their work before it’s finished,” says documentary photographer Anastasia Taylor-Lind (@anastasiatl). “What if someone steals your idea, or the work turns out completely different than what you told people it would be about? Photojournalism is all about being invisible, but I think it’s more honest to show how I work and how I make my photographs.”

Anastasia’s Instagram account stands as a deep look into her photographic process. Since October, she has been working on a long-term personal project called Negative Zero that documents population decline in 19 European countries. She’s shooting entirely on 6x6 negative film using her Hasselblad and Bronica film cameras, but by holding her iPhone above the viewfinder and making photos directly through the ground glass, what she calls “the view from my belly button,” she’s creating a whole new subset of photographs that can be published and shared instantly on Instagram.

For Anastasia, being so open on Instagram “allows me to muse on my own process. To sound things out and be encouraged. It’s a way of pondering what I’m doing.”

Her integration of digital and analog expanded to shooting video portraits when she found herself in Ukraine during the outbreak of anti-government riots in Kiev. With a custom-built flexible mount for her iPhone that attaches to the camera body, she devised a hands-free system to record video while making portraits of protestors inside the barricades of Maidan Square. Through these video portraits, we are able to watch her subjects prepare to have their portrait made: we see the slight shift in their stance, their gaze tilting, and ultimately, the precise moment Anastasia releases the shutter. These videos bring her subjects to life and provide an immediate, living connection to the images that Anastasia will release this summer in a book entitled MAIDAN - Portraits from the Black Square.

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user feature, photojournalism, Nigeria, Liberia,

On Assignment across Africa with @glennagordon

To see more photos and videos from photojournalist Glenna Gordon’s work in Nigeria, Liberia and across Africa, follow @glennagordon on Instagram.

"I love the informality of Instagram," says photojournalist Glenna Gordon (@glennagordon), who shares photos while on assignment across Africa. “It started as a scrapbook for me, and in some sense it still is: it’s a record of where I’ve been and what I’m working on.”

Glenna recently wrapped up an assignment in Nigeria and began a new one in Ghana. Senegal and Liberia are next.

"I never planned to be a photographer," Glenna explains. "I always wanted to be a writer." When journalism school proved uninspiring, however, Glenna visited her brother who was working in Rwanda. Working in such a different context "was the opposite of journalism school and I loved everything about it immediately." Soon after, Glenna moved to Uganda and began writing. Over time, she says, "I felt myself more and more pulled towards photography," which she now does almost exclusively.

Glenna seeks to present a more nuanced view of Africa. “I hope people see contrasts among places, and the moments in between. I hope they see individuals rather than groups, and individuals within groups, to make it harder to generalize and say, ‘Africa is this,’ or ‘Africa is that.’”

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user feature, photojournalism, Kenya,

On Assignment in Kenya with @balazsgardi

To see more photos and videos from photojournalist Balazs Gardi’s work in Kenya and elsewhere, follow @balazsgardi on Instagram.

Photojournalist Balazs Gardi (@balazsgardi) has spent the past decade documenting the effects of the unfolding global water crisis. Balazs’s work has taken him to more than 20 countries across Africa and the Middle East. Most recently, he finds himself in Kenya: “With the changing climate, the people of Kenya’s already arid Turkana region suffer greatly from the consequences of prolonged droughts,” he explains.

It was Balazs’s grandmother that sparked his interest in photography. “She had it in her head that photography was a good path for a young man with no patience for authority or office work,” he says. “She was right, and I discovered that photography was a way to learn about people, their situations and problems, and about the world.”

As he learns and shares the stories of people affected by the water crisis, Balazs says Instagram “has become a vital tool to share work that matters to me and allows me to put the image in context and deliver it directly to my audience.”

Balazs hopes his photos and videos will stir people to action. “By passing on my experiences, I’d like not only to inform but also to spark meaningful public dialog. As time goes on I hope my audience takes action that either directly helps people in great need or changes their own behavior for the better.”