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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, illustration, graphic art, teen artist, art, portrait, cara delevingne, user feature, instagram,

Line Portraits from a Young Artist with @oxtlxnes

For more bold, minimalist faces drawn by Hayley, follow @oxtlxnes on Instagram

In her spare time after school, 16-year-old Hayley Connolly (@oxtlxnes) draws portraits of her Instagram followers.

“I usually draw based on requests, but sometimes I will draw my idols, like Cara Delevingne (@caradelevingne),” says Hayley, who lives in northeast England. “My illustrations are mostly portraits, so they are all about the facial features. I try to make them a mixture of realistic and non-realistic, and I love to make them look almost cartoon-like.”

Hayley’s inspiration comes from looking at Instagram accounts from other teen artists, whose work she wishes was more visible in larger artistic communities.

“I think it is really important to see art made from teens. We haven’t made our life choices yet, so we’re looking at the world in many different ways,” she says. “We’re really in the height of our creativity because we are growing up.”

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photography, portrait, fashion, Architecture, Kenya, Nairobi, user feature, Sarah Waiswa, instagram,

Capturing Nairobi’s Essence through Portraits, with @lafrohemien

To see more of Sarah’s portraits, follow @lafrohemien on Instagram.

“I tend to put my subjects against a backdrop that will not only tell a story about them, but also about the city,” explains Kenya Instagrammer Sarah Waiswa (@lafrohemien). “Nairobi is a diverse landscape and it is important for me to show that in my photos.”

Originally drawn to Instagram as a way to see the world through the lens of others, Sarah now shares her own photographs that reveal her city’s unique juxtapositions. She says, “Nairobi is one of the few places in the world where you can capture wildlife with the city skyline as an unexpected backdrop.”

For Sarah, sharing her city through photos of its inhabitants opens up new avenues for storytelling. She hopes her portraits reflect the nature of Nairobi: “It is alluring and mysterious at the same time.”

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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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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, 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.”