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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, dance, yoga, Artists on Tumblr, breakdancing, flexibility, germany, User Feature, Instagram,

Feats of Incredible Strength and Flexibility with @rubberlegz

For more breakdance contortionism, follow @rubberlegz on Instagram.

Professional dancer Rauf Yasit (@rubberlegz) can stretch into such seemingly impossible shapes that you might think he has no bones in his body. His self-portraits on Instagram are called “Freezes” that he says require him to “click, run, and quickly get into the pose.” Some positions he can hold for only a few seconds, others for much longer. “With time you get to know your body,” he says. “You grow into it.”

The son of a folk dance teacher from Kurdistan who would make him perform traditional Kurdish dances at weddings, Rauf fell in love with breakdancing as a 12-year-old in Germany. His life as Rubber Legz began when an early back injury forced him to take a different approach, shifting his focus from acrobatics to flexibility. He started watching contortion videos and integrated elements of yoga into his breakdance moves. Rauf is now a full-time dancer with his stage group, Flying Steps, who are currently on tour in Germany. He’s also at work on a book that will feature his poses across the landscapes of Reykjavik, Iceland. He says he wants to “express pure and beautiful things” with his dancing and credits the Instagram community as a motivation for pushing the boundaries of his art—and flexibility.

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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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design, interior, Animals, Helsink, finland, brazil, expats, living abroad, foreigner, User Feature, Instagram,

Home is Where the Heart is with @carolinavd

For more photos from Ana Carolina’s new home, follow @carolinavd on Instagram.

“Sometimes I feel like I don’t belong anywhere, but if it’s true that home is where the heart is, then my home is now Finland,” says São Paulo native Ana Carolina Vieira (@carolinavd), who moved to Helsinki after falling in love 10 years ago. “Although I’m now officially a Finnish citizen, I often still feel as though I’ve just moved here. The midnight sun during the summer and the snowy landscapes in the winter still amaze me every time.”

As a decorator and merchandiser, Ana Carolina believes her visual aesthetic has evolved in her new home. “Long winters take up the vast majority of the year, making things naturally monochrome. Apart from that, life is slower here which translates into a clean and peaceful aesthetic,” she observes. Still, images of São Paulo’s hustle and bustle often make her homesick. “Pictures always remind me of the people and places that were part of my life back home. I start dreaming of everything I would do if I were there. To cope with being homesick, I spend time with my Finnish loved ones and try to see and enjoy the best of my new home. My dog Emma helps me a lot, too.”

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Photography, art, design, food, crafts, cake, interiors, user feature, art thursday, Instagram, Scott Hove,

The Sweetly Scary Creations of @scotthove

To see more from Scott Hove’s strange and beautiful cake-themed series, follow @scotthove on Instagram.

The sweet but sinister works of Los Angeles artist Scott Hove (@scotthove) are characterized by fierce jaws and other dangerous elements ensconced in ornately decorated cakes. “Are these themes in conflict or in harmony?” asks Scott, who seeks to at once draw-in and repel with his creations.

“Cake decorating is not normally associated with the fine arts,” explains Scott, “but when I saw the emotional power of the medium, it was apparent it needed further investigation.” With that, Scott’s “Cakeland” series was born. While his works of art are not edible, Scott’s methods—chronicled on Instagram in great detail—are drawn from baking. As he explains, “I enjoy learning diverse traditional decorative techniques as a hobby and applying them to my art.”

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Photography, Art, design, illustration, thailand, video, watercolor, User Feature, Instagram,

Drawing for Happiness with @jiranarong

For more photos and videos of Jiranarong’s illustrations, follow @jiranarong on Instagram.

“I use a lot of drawing techniques, but right now I especially love watercolor and ink,” says Bangkok art director and illustrator Jiranarong Wongsoontorn (@jiranarong). While Jiranarong uses various online channels to share his daily snaps, Instagram has become a place for him to showcase photos and “making-of” videos of his artwork.

Jiranarong’s favorite themes to draw are things that make him feel joyous and peaceful, such as children, flowers and cats. “The main concept of my work is happiness, which means that the photos and videos I share are also made from my happiness,” he explains. When capturing his artistic expressions, he also uses natural light to show the texture of his paper and bring out extra liveliness in his illustrations.

Through Instagram, Jiranarong feels that he is sharing more than just images of his drawings: “I’m very glad to know that many of my followers can feel the same happiness through my work—I am often inspired and learning new things from the people I’m following as well.”

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Photography, Art, sculpture, shiflett, shiflett brothers, comic art, comics, comic-con, SDCC, User Feature, x-men, wolverine, Instagram,

Geeking Out with Comic Book Sculptors @shiflettbros

For more photos of stunning creatures from the world of fantasy and comics, follow @shiflettbros on Instagram.

“Sculpt what you love” has been the life-long philosophy of artists Jarrod and Brandon Shiflett (@shiflettbros)—and the self-described “comic book nerds” are making their living doing just that.

“Jarrod and I started sculpting about 20 years ago because of a mutual love of comic books,” says Brandon. “We wanted to see our favorite comic book characters in three dimensions.”

The Texas brothers’ joint Instagram account showcases some of the most impressive pieces in their collection, ranging from favorite comics characters to many of their own fantastical creations.

"Comics are huge in scope, and we felt like they try to say some really profound things about the human struggle," says Jarrod. "These stories are modern day myths and legends for us."

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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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Instagram, Cars, retro, russia, ukraine, User Feature, roadtrip, travel, coast, Photography,

A Nostalgic Ride Through Russia with @dobryvolshebnik

To see more photos from Georgy’s journeys in his orange car, follow @dobryvolshebnik

"People on the road always spot this orange classic car. They remember their Soviet past—some of them had this model 20 or 30 years ago," says Russian Instagrammer Georgy Chernyshev (@dobryvolshebnik), who uses the retro vehicle to travel with his girlfriend across Russia and Ukraine. The car is a 1975 Muscovite (Russian “Moskvitch”—”Mосквич”), and Georgy says its distinctiveness helps him meet interesting people in his journeys. He also feels inspired to travel more. “You can feel a special nostalgia traveling in this car which you wouldn’t get in a modern car,” he says. “I feel its soul, character and history.”

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Art, design, street photography, symbology, saopaulo, brazil, User Feature, Instagram,

Circle Hunting with @marcelonava

For more of Marcelo’s circular life follow @marcelonava on Instagram.

“While studying symbology in college, I noticed the importance of shapes throughout history,” says São Paulo Instagrammer and creative director Marcelo Nava (@marcelonava). “Suddenly, I began to pay attention to the many circles in my everyday life. I started thinking about telling my story through circles.” Marcelo created the #roundseries hashtag, and his quest for the perfect circle has led to some interesting stories. “I recently found this amazing circular vent, which was unfortunately way too high for me to capture. I had to have two of my friends lift me up so that I could get the right angle,” he says. This event reminded Marcelo why circles were so meaningful as symbols. “They represent trust and collaboration.”

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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.”