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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, landscapes, portraits, australia, sydney, Local Lens, User Feature, Instagram, street style,

#LocalLens: Documenting the Forgotten Scenes of Sydney

In this series, local Instagrammers show you their favorite places to shoot around where they live. To see more photos and videos from Vinh’s explorations around Sydney, follow @vinhphams on Instagram.

“I love capturing the scenes of Sydney that have been forgotten, whether it be new or old,” says Sydney Instagrammer Vinh Pham (@vinhphams) for this month’s edition of #LocalLens. An avid participant of local InstaMeets, Vinh often goes out on photo-walks with fellow Instagrammers he met through meet-ups, looking for interesting angles of the city and its people.

“This photo was taken at an abandoned tire factory called the Dunlop Slazenger Factory,” explains Vinh about one of his photos. “I framed the image upside down, because I wanted to capture a different perspective of my subject,” he adds. Other spots he likes to shoot include the rarely used staircases at Redfern Station, a pathway running alongside the Sydney Harbour Bridge at a quiet time of the day and an empty section of the campus at University of Technology, Sydney. “I view Sydney as an unexplored playground, which I embrace through my photographic adventures.”

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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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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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Photography, Instagram, flowers, flower portraits, portraits, crafts, User Feature, Cansu Tüzan, Turkey, color,

Facing the Foliage with @cnstzn

For more flower portraits, browse the #facethefoliage hashtag and follow @justinablakeney and @cnstzn on Instagram.

Inspired by Justina Blakeney’s (@justinablakeney) #facethefoliage hashtag, Turkey Instagrammer Cansu Tüzan (@cnstzn) started to bring her portraits to life. Using everyday objects including flowers, seashells, metal scraps and jewelry, the student living in Gelibolu, Çanakkale, arranges objects on her desk before creating a character. “When I travel or walk anywhere, I am trying to look for all the details. I am always looking very carefully at everything as all the dried branches, flowers and leaves help me to create new characters.”

Cansu explains how she puts together each photo. “I try to shape hair and eyes, then I realize that the portrait is starting to look at me,” she says. “After I design the portrait, I wonder where it lives or whether the face belongs to a real person. Some of my followers claim my portraits look like their friends or relatives. This feeling makes me happy, as I am dreamer and I love showing my dreams through my works.”

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hashtag highlight, notmynonni, Italy, grandparents, photography, portraits, Instagram,

Remembering a Generation with @notmynonni

To view more photos and videos of nonni all over the world, browse the hashtag #notmynonni and follow @notmynonni and @tianapix on Instagram.

Italy Instagrammer Tiana Kai Madera (@tianapix) captioned one of her photos “not my nonna,” using the affectionate word for “grandma” in Italian. When her community was amused by the happy nature of the shot, she started the account @notmynonni (nonni means “grandparents”) to capture quintessential Italian scenes of elderly people going about their daily lives—in the streets, in winter coats, or standing next to old cars. “The older the nonni, the more moved people get—and I hope to capture Italy and all of its nonni,” she explains.

Tiana’s grandfather, to whom the account is dedicated, had Sicilian parents. She says she feels closer to him after moving to Florence from Miami. “I see my grandpa in many nonni that I photograph,” she says. “Some I stop and chat with, others I smile and move on and sometimes assist them if they need help down a step. Each of us has a nonno or nonna inside these strangers.”

Other Instagrammers joined in, using the #notmynonni hashtag to share photos of other people’s grandpas and grandmas.

Tiana feels the love for the account comes from the fact that “everyone has an elderly figure that they love,” and she enjoys seeing people share affectionate photos of nonni all over the world.

"This project reminds us to be kind, to love our family and others."

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User Feature, portraits,

Street Portraits in India with @pruue

To see more of Sean’s portraits from India and moments from his other travels, follow @pruue on Instagram.

After pausing to reflect on his busy life as an engineer, Singaporean Instagrammer Sean Gabriel (@pruue) realized he needed to get away.

"Living in Singapore, everything appears to be very rigid and extremely fast paced," Sean explains. "We had to take a step back, slow down a little and immerse ourselves in an entirely different culture that would be refreshing and inspiring."

In September, he joined his girlfriend and her family on a pilgrimage to India, where they sought out Vrindavan, the town where the Hindu god Krishna is believed to have spent his childhood. A sacred site with hundreds of temples, Sean recalls that “bells from the temples would ring as early as 4am.”

Having put aside a passion for graphic design to pursue a career in engineering, the trip offered a chance for Sean to reconnect with his creative interests. He found himself drawn to the people who surrounded him and sought to tell the story of his trip through portraits—even though, as strangers, they shared neither a common background nor much common language.

As he found out, his phone and a smile was all the language he needed:

"One memorable instance was a picture I took of a rickshaw rider. He immediately stood up and started gesturing me to take a picture of him whilst I was wandering around the temple. He then carried on to wrap his head with a towel that most rickshaw riders would normally wipe their seats with, in a bid to pose as character from Bollywood. At that point in time he believed he was a star, and so did I. The camera, it seems, was the catalyst that broke down the language barriers we had.”