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#balineselife: Beyond the Beaches with @agungparameswara For a...

Wed, 10/07/2015 - 23:09

#balineselife: Beyond the Beaches with @agungparameswara

For a local’s take on Bali, explore the hashtag #balineselife and follow @agungparameswara on Instagram.

White sand beaches and luxurious resorts make up the tourists’ view of Bali. Agung Parameswara (@agungparameswara) has a different perspective.

Agung, who was born and raised on the Indonesian island, records the experiences of his fellow Balinese. “Formerly, most Balinese were farmers and artists, dancers, painters, carpenters,” he says, pointing out how many of them have left those trades for jobs in the tourism industry, which arrived in earnest 45 years ago. Through the hashtag #balineselife, Agung is shining a light on people like this porter carrying a sack of cement on a wooden cargo ship or the feet of one of the few remaining “dokar” carriage drivers in the city of Denpasar.

Balinese philosophies, like Tri Hita Karana, or the “three causes of well-being” — harmony among people, harmony with the surrounding environment and harmony with God — are what Agung says tourism is eroding. So he captures the moments he can.

“I understand that change is inevitable and lasting,” says Agung. “Sometimes I feel sad and think, perhaps by documenting something that is starting to fade, someday it will be useful because, while it may not have value today, 30 years or 40 years ahead of this documentation it will be precious.”

Lower Dens’ Singer Jana Hunter on the ‘Elation and Exhaustion’...

Wed, 10/07/2015 - 16:50

Lower Dens’ Singer Jana Hunter on the ‘Elation and Exhaustion’ of Touring

To see more photos on the road from Lower Dens, check out @lowerdens on Instagram. For more music stories, head to @music.

This year, Baltimore-based quartet Lower Dens (@lowerdens) has been playing some of the most intense concerts of its career.

“People at the shows seem as invested as we are,” says lead singer Jana Hunter. “And when you have a performer and an audience come together like that, with an intention to have a transformative experience, those shows for me in my life have been rare.”

She and the group are currently in a car on their way to Delaware for their next high-energy gig before heading off to a festival where ‘90s rapper MC Lyte is set to headline. Jana is discussing the brutal nature of being on the road in the first place. Part of that comes with going full-throttle every night on stage, a decision that sprouted from the “elation and exhaustion” she experienced while writing and recording the band’s latest record, Escape From Evil.

“We are trying to put everything we can into these shows,” say Jana. “Also, there is a certain amount of receiving energy from the crowds. And I don’t even mean vibes, I mean people coming up after the show and cheering or just being excited. We try to remain as open to that as possible. It’s just a really wonderful and privileged experience. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Well, she might trade it to spend some time with her beloved cat Mordack, who is currently sitting at home waiting for his mom to return. On the plus side, no animal on the road means more time for Jana to focus on the work. Speaking of, what’s the trick to putting up that much energy every evening for months straight and still having enough juice to move onto the next day and do it all again?

“None of us party, so to speak,” says Jana. “There are a couple of people who will have a beer or a joint, but for the most part we don’t. We take care of ourselves physically, we drink a lot of coffee. I think that you find psychological ways of tricking yourself into making it new.”

So far, the tricks seem to be working.

— Instagram @music

#whereartthou: Challenging Perceptions with #polesellojoven For...

Wed, 10/07/2015 - 16:03

#whereartthou: Challenging Perceptions with #polesellojoven

For more playful art, design and industrial influences, explore the hashtag #polesellojoven and follow @museomalba on Instagram.

(This interview was conducted in Spanish.)

Like a kaleidoscope, the work of Argentine optical artist Rogelio Polesello plays with perceptions. “Polesello Joven” (#polesellojoven), an exhibition of Rogelio’s early years, is on display at the Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires (@museomalba).

“The work of the young Polesello wasn’t conceptual, it showed what was happening in the industrial world and how that related to art and design, challenging people’s perceptions,” says Mercedes Casanegra, the curator of the exhibition, which is open through October 12.

Vibrant acrylic plates and color-carved transparent columns and blocks prompt visitors to interact with the art. “Polesello was interested in industry,” says Mercedes. “Working in his workshop, he had the idea of making those carvings, which resulted in magnifying glasses of concave and convex games that deal with elements of scientific perception.”

#todayimet: The Faces of #WWIM12 Did you host an InstaMeet this...

Tue, 10/06/2015 - 02:42

#todayimet: The Faces of #WWIM12

Did you host an InstaMeet this weekend? Make sure to tell us about it here.

This past weekend, Instagrammers across the globe joined Worldwide InstaMeet 12. There were 2,600 WWIM hashtags in use. There was a great turnout, especially in places like Indonesia, the United States, India, Russia, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. Check out #WWIM12 to see the gatherings in small towns and big cities, at the beach and on mountaintops – and meet the diverse members of the community by exploring #todayimet.

Celebrating Architecture in London with @tobishinobi To see...

Mon, 10/05/2015 - 16:03

Celebrating Architecture in London with @tobishinobi

To see more photos and videos of architectural wonders on World Architecture Day, browse the #worldarchitectureday hashtag and follow @tobishinobi on Instagram.

A London-dwelling lawyer by day, Tobi Shonibare (@tobishinobi) spends his nights and sunrises photographing the city’s most iconic buildings. “My mother is an engineer, and I remember seeing her technical drawings from a young age, which gave me an early appreciation for perspective, lines and symmetry,” he says.

Tobi rises early to head to London’s “Square Mile,” a financial district that includes architectural feats now synonymous with the city’s unique skyline, such as 30 St. Mary Axe, better known as the Gherkin, and the recently completed Leadenhall Building — its wedge shape earning it the nickname the “Cheese Grater.” He considers a building’s structural angles and goes by the motto “composition is king and patience is paramount” to get the right shot. “London has world-class architecture that people travel across the globe to see,” he says. “It’s in my city so I have to make the most of it.”

“There is a crazy juxtaposition of old and new within throwing distance of one another. It makes for great character and challenges one creatively to take photos which have a common theme or style.”

Keeping a Travel Diary in Pictures with @remichapeaublanc To...

Sun, 10/04/2015 - 21:54

Keeping a Travel Diary in Pictures with @remichapeaublanc

To see more daily pictures from Rémi’s travels, check out @remichapeaublanc on Instagram.

(This interview was conducted in French.)

A picture per day. That was the challenge photographer Rémi Chapeaublanc (@remichapeaublanc) gave himself during his recent 57-day trip to Southeast Asia. “It’s like keeping a diary,” he says, noting that he would close out each day around 11 p.m. thinking about what the most important moment was, and then post it. “I loved it. It allowed me to take the time to think about my trip. I can now stream through my feed and see what I did or discovered on day 1, day 15, day 37…”

Day 11’s moment was seeing a vibrant green pasture in Laos. Day 45’s was holding a starfish during underwater photography training in Thailand. Day 53’s was a “Buddha inside the tree,” which Rémi and his two travel companions saw in Thailand a week before they went home to Paris. “When you travel to new places, it’s easy to get caught up by the beauty of landscapes. So I kept aiming for narratives in my pictures,” he says.

Foals’ Guitarist Jimmy Smith on the Benefits of Touring and...

Sun, 10/04/2015 - 16:38

Foals’ Guitarist Jimmy Smith on the Benefits of Touring and Hairy Spider Legs

To see more of Jimmy’s photos, check out @jimmyfoals on Instagram. For more music stories, head to @music.

There are two kinds of musicians — those who like being on tour, and those who hate being on tour. Foals’ guitarist Jimmy Smith (@jimmyfoals) is the former.

“You feel like a bit of a renegade, going against the flow of normal society,” he says over the phone, freshly off a recent set of shows across Europe. “The very first time I went on tour, I went to a service station and saw all these people commuting or picking up their coffees, and we were just operating on such a different time scale. Musicians are allowed to go careening around the world doing whatever they want.”

Well, successful ones like the members of Foals are. One of the buzzier indie bands of the late 2000s, Foals quickly became cool kid darlings, booked gigs at Glastonbury and Coachella and now trot all over the globe selling out big venues. Last month, they released their fourth album, What Went Down, which opens with the vicious, muscular title track that sees the guys taking a victory lap smack dab in its middle. Don’t be too intimidated by their swagger, though.

“Bands who seem so effortlessly cool always impress me. Because you know they’re going through the same stuff every band goes through. They’re probably nervous. You’re always a little bit nervous,” Jimmy says. “If you think about it too much, it is quite a strange thing going onstage and playing music for loads of people. It’s really easy to freak yourself out. The best thing to do is not think about it.”

In service of not thinking about it, the bandmates aim to spend their days on tour distracting themselves from the looming “black cloud” of the show. Their latest method is finding a basketball court near the bus and shooting hoops, but drinking cheap wine and eating tapas works, too. Or getting caught up in the animal world, like Jimmy.

“I was obsessed with nature documentaries as a kid,” he says. “I used to think I had some sort of special connection with animals. Even now there’s a spider on my balcony and it’s pretty amazing just to sit there and look at its hideous hairy legs.”

Jimmy grew up in and around Oxford, England, and played the piano and a classical guitar his mother left lying around the house. He joined the school band and bought an electric guitar by the time he was 15, but picked geography as his major in university. After he graduated, he joined Foals while working a “rubbish” data entry job.

In comparison to poking at a keyboard all day, the cons of touring — “trying to sort out what sort of condition you’re in, how bad the hangover is and whether a good juice will get rid of it or whether it needs a Bloody Mary” — are cake. So much so that when Jimmy’s off, all he wants to do is be back on.

“Sufjan Stevens’ album this year was a big inspiration, and I saw him play a couple days ago. There’s an absolute magic in watching a good band play a good show. I always get really jealous, especially if we’re not touring and it’s time off,” he says. “Touring is relentless. It’s really bad for you. Physically and mentally it can be draining. But I just wanna be doing it.”

– Rebecca Haithcoat for Instagram @music

The Week on Instagram | 203 News New York Magazine: Nicki...

Sun, 10/04/2015 - 16:20

The Week on Instagram | 203


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Finding Friendship, Solidarity and Gratitude with...

Sat, 10/03/2015 - 22:05

Finding Friendship, Solidarity and Gratitude with @ryanmizard

To see more of Ryanmizard’s photographs, follow @ryanmizard on Instagram. For tips or to find an InstaMeet near you, visit

“#hellomynameis Ryanmizard Binsar Rizal (@ryanmizard). I am 21 years old and I live in Semarang, on the north coast of Java, Indonesia. My favorite spot to take photos is in the mountains. I go with my friends, and when we’re there we feel a joint sense of friendship, solidarity and gratitude about our lives.”

Funky Fresh: Behind School of Scratch, the Online Record...

Sat, 10/03/2015 - 16:26

Funky Fresh: Behind School of Scratch, the Online Record Scratching School for DJs

To see more of Emma’s scratching videos, check out @schoolofscratch on Instagram. For more music stories, head to @music.

“This is bathtub scratching,” says Emma Holmes aka Emma Short-E at the start of one of her signature School of Scratch (@schoolofscratch) videos. Today’s lesson: be creative. After gliding into the empty tub armed with a vinyl record and portable turntable, she goes to work — one hand moving the fader from left to right, the other sliding the record back and forth in quick rhythms.

“I like scratching to newer stuff,” says Emma, who gives full-fledged, multi-part record scratching lessons online. “A lot of it is just experimentation, so I actually give myself time to put the techniques together in different ways.”

Emma’s initial interest in scratching and playing music began in 2000 while she was at college. Her housemates at the time had their own equipment and were mixing tracks themselves.

“I just thought, what an amazing thing to be able to do — to play music to people and to keep it going, one record after the other, and control the energy and the crowd,” she says.

The record scratching would come a bit later on, thanks to her brother, who had equipment of his own.

“He did some sample scratching and it just blew my mind,” she says. “I just remember thinking, I have to do that. I don’t know how, I don’t even know where to start, but that’s what I am going to do.”

She did it by practicing — a lot — eventually making way for Studio Scratches, which she launched in 2008, as a way to get her work featured on other artist’s songs. But the plan fizzled, so she flipped the script, and started School of Scratch a year and a half ago, to help teach aspiring DJs how to scratch. It would be another year, though, until she felt comfortable enough to actually show her face on camera.

“I wanted my scratching to be taken really seriously in terms of my skills rather than being female,” she says. “But then I decided, yeah, let’s just be all of me on camera and go for it.”

Going for it now means continuing to grow the business and becoming the best musician she can be. And, she admits, she’s just getting started.

“The first year was finding my feet,” says Emma. “I just signed for an office space so I am going to have a bit more freedom to make more videos. I am really looking forward to seeing what else I can do.”

– Instagram @music

Oktoberfest 2015: Joining German Traditions with @devteros For...

Sat, 10/03/2015 - 15:55

Oktoberfest 2015: Joining German Traditions with @devteros

For more Oktoberfest festivities through Tilman’s lens, follow @devteros on Instagram.

(This interview was conducted in German.)

Dressed in traditional clothes like a scene from a bygone era, kids will still be kids on the streets of Munich, Germany. Tilman Haerdle (@devteros) says that dirndl dresses and lederhosen are not an uncommon sight in his hometown, especially during holidays and festivals, like Oktoberfest, which wraps up this weekend. Tourists have flocked to the city for the past two weeks making Munich “even more cosmopolitan than it is already,” says Tilman, who goes out of his way to photograph Bavarian traditions.

An annual tradition at Oktoberfest is the festive prelude – “Einzug der Wiesn-Wirte.” Tilman says the thousands of people who wait for the parade of flower-decked horse-drawn carriages, marching bands and pompous carts from local breweries come to a calm silence just before the show. And then they explode with excitement: “When the first division of the procession arrives, there is no holding back. The music-making and clapping go on and on,” says Tilman. “It’s a grand tryst of Bavaria’s traditional associations.”

This Weekend: #todayimet at Worldwide InstaMeet 12 For tips or...

Fri, 10/02/2015 - 22:14

This Weekend: #todayimet at Worldwide InstaMeet 12

For tips or to find an InstaMeet near you, visit

This weekend, we’re putting the Weekend Hashtag Project on hold for the 12th Worldwide InstaMeet.

The theme of #WWIM12 is to share #todayimet portraits of the people you meet this weekend. To help others connect to new and interesting people, ask the subject of your portrait about their favorite Instagram accounts, and include them in your caption with the #whoifollow hashtag.

Browse #todayimet and #WWIM12 throughout the weekend to explore communities around the world, and check back Monday for a look at some of our favorites.

Instagram @music’s Monthly Hashtag Project: #MHPfanclub Monthly...

Fri, 10/02/2015 - 17:08

Instagram @music’s Monthly Hashtag Project: #MHPfanclub

Monthly 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 @music on Instagram.

This weekend is Worldwide InstaMeet 12, and Instagrammers all over the globe will be coming together to connect with one another. To kick off Instagram Music’s October hashtag project, find an InstaMeet happening near you, meet someone new who shares your taste in music and share a portrait of them for your first entry to #MHPfanclub (be sure to use the #WWIM12 and #todayimet hashtags as well).

The project takes inspiration from music photographer Colin Kerrigan (@colinkerrigan), who has some tips to get you started:

  • Colin recommends making a connection with your subject before taking their photo: “You can take a photo, but if you don’t know who that person is, what their background story is, it’s very much an empty photograph.”
  • When photographing crowds, Colin says he looks for energetic moments, like he did when the band Incubus was coming on stage at a concert in Peru. “It was this incredible energy so I just turned around and these fans all had their iPhones out and they were all just screaming like it was the time of their life. So, I look for moments like that where you can feel the energy or you can see the energy.”
  • When taking a posed portrait, try directing your subject a bit. “Sometimes people will be like ‘What do I do?’ And I’m like ‘Well, just act like Beyonce.’ People think it’s funny and it kinda lightens up the mood,” says Colin.

Project Rules: Please add the #MHPfanclub hashtag only to photos taken this month and only submit your own. Any tagged image taken this month is eligible to be featured. Finally, please respect an artist’s wishes if they ask not to be photographed.

@yur_rii’s Special Recipe for Parenting To see more photos of...

Fri, 10/02/2015 - 16:05

@yur_rii’s Special Recipe for Parenting

To see more photos of playful meals made by Rikako, follow @yur_rii on Instagram.

(This interview was conducted in Japanese.)

All parents have special tricks for communicating effectively with their children. Rikako Ezumi (@yur_rii), a cook and mother of a teenage daughter from Fukuoka, Japan, uses a method that draws on what she does best: cooking. “I’ve been continuing this for 10 years now,” explains Rikako. “I work from morning to midnight, and the least I can do for my daughter is to make her something cute for breakfast so that she won’t feel lonely when she has to eat by herself in the morning.” Surely, the meals Rikako prepares are made to put a smile on anyone’s face, with happy and playful characters peeking out from somewhere inside the dishes. The tradition further carried on into lunch boxes when her daughter started going to school. “This is how I’ve been raising my daughter all along, and seeing how well she’s grown up, I feel like I’m doing the right thing,” she says. “No matter how old my daughter gets — even when she moves up to high school and beyond — I will forever continue to decorate the meals I cook for her.”

An Eye For Ballet with @balletandphotos For more ballet...

Thu, 10/01/2015 - 23:07

An Eye For Ballet with @balletandphotos

For more ballet pictures, follow @balletandphotos on Instagram.

Laurent Liotardo (@balletandphotos) had his eye on becoming a ballet dancer when he was just 10 years old. “It wasn’t the easiest choice to deal with at school, as the other kids would make fun of me. But ultimately, I don’t regret my decision a bit,” he says. Now a member of the English National Ballet, Laurent also keeps an eye on other dancers from behind the lens of his camera.

“When I photograph dancers I try to focus on their individuality and unique sensibilities — capturing their physicality and athleticism is not my only aim,” says Laurent, who got interested in photography just a few years ago, but now says hardly a day goes by that he doesn’t think about it. “I have to let the space and the model bring their own part to the story.”

Laurent says photographing a live dance performance is more spontaneous: “Everything goes really quick — there is a lot of adrenaline, and the best moments come and disappear with a blink of an eye.” #worldballetday

#whoifollow with @clarewaightkeller of @chloe To see more of...

Thu, 10/01/2015 - 16:27

#whoifollow with @clarewaightkeller of @chloe

To see more of Clare’s photographs, follow @clarewaightkeller on Instagram.

“Everyone always asks me ‘what inspires you? How do I create collections for Chloé (@chloe)? What is it like to be a designer living in Paris with your family?’ So my photographs are very personal. I love that I see responses from friends and fans. There is something fantastic about the possibility to be intimate but also global. This is #whoifollow.” —Clare Waight Keller (@clarewaightkeller)

  • @camillebwaddington: She mixes her French and British roots with a cool, chic attitude.
  • @jane_how: A stylist I find quite fascinating.
  • @robertclarkphoto: Photos which are inspiring in color, subject and composition.
  • @ideabooksltd: They are just genius at finding the most brilliant books and writing about their passion for them.
  • @ryanmcginleystudios: He is on the cutting edge of modern art photography.
  • @manrepeller: Hilarious commentary on fashion and life.
  • @_glen_luchford: A photographer and good friend who posts hilarious images of himself.
  • @hughhefner: Just too fabulous.

Cooking Up Inspiration with @cozinhadalbo For more culinary...

Wed, 09/30/2015 - 22:23

Cooking Up Inspiration with @cozinhadalbo

For more culinary inspiration, follow @cozinhadalbo on Instagram.

This interview was conducted in Portuguese.

Complex cake recipes with many steps are chef Angelo Dal Bó’s (@cozinhadalbo) favorite challenges. “I really take pleasure in the creativity and manual work,” he says. Angelo was inspired to become a chef as a child. “I grew up in the kitchen watching my grandmothers cook for family lunches.” Today, as a photographer and food blogger in his native Brazil, Angelo is out to spread his inherited passion to others. “I realized that my relationship with food is not about selling a physical product. It’s about creating and sharing photographs, recipes and inspiration. I hope I can inspire people to cook more often and take risks in the kitchen,” he says.

Hooked on a Feeling: Why Psych Rocker Yonathan Garfias Quit...

Wed, 09/30/2015 - 16:26

Hooked on a Feeling: Why Psych Rocker Yonathan Garfias Quit Music (for Now)

To see more of Yonathan’s psychedelic visuals, check out @yonathangarfias on Instagram. For more music stories, head to @music.

Yonathan Garfias (@yonathangarfias) has played with the likes of Tame Impala, Tegan and Sara, Angels and Airwaves, Silverchair and many more. Primarily a bassist, he’s also recorded a number of experimental, ambient solo albums (last year, he simultaneously released five self-produced records). But then, this past February, he announced he was taking an indefinite break from music “unless and until it feels right again,” before unveiling his “final” album in May, the breathlessly named two-part Final Take or (remixing), or (a tribute), or (… the eschatology), or perhaps more accurately (Who Knows What is yet to come?). So, why stop now?

“I got a lot from music, and music got a lot from me,” the 25-year-old resident of Querétaro, Mexico, says. “I got to the point where I just sat in front of the console or the computer and started mixing some tracks I had, just because I had to do it. I didn’t feel the spiritual need to play music or mix or produce, so I felt stuck most of the time. Now I have a ‘normal’ office job, waiting for the feeling to begin once again.”

Yonathan currently works in human resources for the Mexican airline TAR Aerolineas, but he keeps his artistic side satisfied as an amateur photographer, creating a variety of psychedelic images. Lately, he’s posted a number of warped photos that feature colorful circular shapes, mirror-like manipulations of bridges and horizons and washed out collages. Listening to his electronic compositions, it’s apparent that Yonathan treats his photographs like he did his music.

“You like what you see so you shoot it,” he says. “Like music, you play what you feel. All the music I listen to, it’s so similar — alternative, experimental, rock and obviously psychedelic. They all are related to that kind of art.”

Part of the fun of looking at Yonathan’s visual work is how he captions almost all of them with a song lyric, often from an artist with whom he’s collaborated. A recent creation of cloudy swirls is accompanied by “smile on the face of the gods you made,” from the song “Whatever Happened to the Million Head Collide” by Australian psych rockers Pond, while another, of a beautiful woman in a red dress standing in front of a small house reads “you brighten my life like a polystyrene hat, but it melts in the sun like a life without love,” from Silverchair’s “Without You.” “Most of the time I wrote the caption as if it was the story of the photo or part of it, like a music video,” he explains.

For now, Yonathan is content to work his office job and save money while pondering a musical comeback. One of his goals is to open both a bar and a coffee shop. For the bar, he wants it to be a place where “you can listen to some good music, see bands live and [watch] sports,” like soccer, American football and boxing.

“And the coffee shop,” he adds, “would be a nice but not expensive place where we roast our coffee beans, where bands could play some live acoustic music and host a photo exhibition. It would be great for me!”

– Dan Reilly for Instagram @music

A Long Road to Peace with @mujtabajalali For more photos of...

Wed, 09/30/2015 - 15:58

A Long Road to Peace with @mujtabajalali

For more photos of Mujtaba’s journey, follow @mujtabajalali on Instagram.

Generations of refugees, driven by years, and decades of war, are landing on the shores of Europe. Among them is Mujtaba Jalali (@mujtabajalali), a 24-year-old photojournalist, born in Iran to parents who fled Afghanistan 30 years ago. “You hear news, every day, of refugees coming in,” he says, describing a journey that has taken him across three countries so far, “but you will never feel the moments when mothers sleep with their two-year-old kids in freezing weather in the mountains, and when they feel death very close on the sea, with no captain.” Determined to tell the story of hundreds of thousands of displaced people, Mujtaba, along with three Afghan friends, joined an exodus of desperate travelers from the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. Unlike previous generations of refugees, he stays connected to his parents over messaging apps — meanwhile, his sister is following his journey on Instagram. He reflects on his passage across borders, saying, “It’s humans’ right, regardless of their nationality, religion and skin color to choose wherever they want to live, in peace and security.”

Back to School With the Old School Pencil at C.W. Pencil...

Tue, 09/29/2015 - 22:03

Back to School With the Old School Pencil at C.W. Pencil Enterprise

For more sharp pencil photos, follow @cwpencilenterprise on Instagram.

In this increasingly paperless age, a boutique that specializes in pencils may seem antiquated. Yet for Caroline Weaver (@cwpencilenterprise), the owner of Manhattan’s C.W. Pencil Enterprise, business is booming. Curiosity has lured customers into her sharply designed, happy shoebox of a store. “A lot of adults just haven’t written with a pencil for a long time,” says the 24-year-old proprietor and art school graduate. “One of the most popular ones in my shop is a Caran d’Ache Black Wood, mostly because it’s beautiful. It’s an entirely black pencil and very chic. Then people write with it. It’s so buttery it glides across the page. Writing with a pencil can be just as pleasurable as writing with an $800 fountain pen.” It’s certainly less pricey — most of the two dozen brands Caroline carries can be paid for with pocket change. Still, there is a vernacular specific to pencil connoisseurs. “Point retention means how long you can write with it until you have to sharpen it again. The metal thing that holds the eraser at the end of a pencil is called a ‘ferrule.’ Otherwise, we try not to use the word lead because there was never actually any lead in a pencil,” Caroline says, decoding the language of pencil buffs. “We get called out for being nerds all the time.”