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

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 22:33

Instagram @music’s Monthly Hashtag Project: #MHPmysounds

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 month’s prompt was #MHPmysounds, which asked participants to make creative images and videos inspired by the sounds they feel most connected to, taking inspiration from guest curators Camille and Kennerly Kitt (@camillekennerly), aka the Harp Twins. We selected some of our favorite submissions from the project, but be sure to check out the rest here.

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPmyoasis Weekend Hashtag Project...

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 20:47

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPmyoasis

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 photograph the places where you go to escape, near or far from home. Some tips to get you started:

  • Your escape could be getting lost in the energy of a crowded concert, or finding solitude in a cozy reading spot.
  • Capture a sense of place in your photographs by taking wider shots that show your environment.
  • Photograph a perfect moment in an adventurous locale or showcase your everyday sanctuary for this project.

PROJECT RULES: Please add the #WHPmyoasis hashtag only 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.

Announcing Worldwide InstaMeet 12: October 3-4 For more...

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 14:05

Announcing Worldwide InstaMeet 12: October 3-4

For more information about how to get involved in #WWIM12, visit Check out our Behind the InstaMeet series for practical tips on organizing a meetup of your own!

Worldwide InstaMeet 12 is set for the weekend of October 3-4!

This Worldwide InstaMeet falls just before the Instagram community’s birthday on October 6. To celebrate the vibrant, diverse and global community that has grown since Instagram launched just five short years ago, the theme of #WWIM12 will be to share #todayimet portraits of the people you meet. 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 the #todayimet hashtag for portrait inspiration, and learn more about InstaMeets at

Sibling Revelry: The Sights and Sounds of Brandon and Olivia...

Thu, 08/27/2015 - 23:45

Sibling Revelry: The Sights and Sounds of Brandon and Olivia Locher

To see more of Olivia and Brandon’s work, check out @brandonlocher and @olivialocher on Instagram. For more music stories, head to Instagram @music.

You’ll notice the preternatural ease with which they discuss one another’s professional work and personal selves; the respect they have for their interests, efforts and shared history; and the continued expectation they put on each other to create something new, exciting and distinctive. Brandon (@brandonlocher) and Olivia Locher (@olivialocher) — siblings, roommates and originators. At 30, Brandon is an audio-visual artist, while Olivia, six years his junior, is a photographer. Typically, age difference is enough to warrant a devolving of paths, yet they have no qualms staying in the same apartment, giving the other feedback, working on the same projects and finishing each other’s sentences.

“I think Olivia and I have always been close, especially now that we have gotten older and we’ve studied a long time together,” says Brandon. “Even when I was in high school, Olivia was friends with a lot of my friends.”

“We have the relationship where we could be in a place this small together and not kill each other,” adds Olivia.

Today, the two are in her studio in Manhattan, where the air conditioning is broken and a large fan swirls on the floor circulating hot air. Behind them is a newly purchased original Eames desk, which Olivia snagged the other day from a seller on Craigslist. There’s also a multicolored rug, a white Ikea bookshelf, which has been glued back together several times and displays a variety of art and photography books and vinyl records, and a group of enormous rolled-up backdrops, each in their own poppy colors — bright yellows, blues, pinks and oranges. When they need space, which — again, surprisingly, isn’t all that often — they either go off into their own separate corners, or Brandon will return to the Lochers’ hometown of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, where he currently houses most of his instruments and electronic equipment.

The studio is located on Madison Avenue, which Olivia admits is a strange place for two working artists in New York City. But she had her heart set on a spot with big windows and high ceilings and found it in this spacious apartment just south of midtown. Here, she shoots and brainstorms much of her bombastic, satirical work. Most recently, it was the series “I Fought the Law,” which looked to show off America’s most unusual laws.

“I was photographing this guy, and he randomly brought up that it’s illegal to have an ice cream cone in your back pocket [in Alabama],” says Olivia. “Then I just started researching other weird laws, and I realized there’s one for almost every state.”

Brandon didn’t officially collaborate on the project, but he did assist on shoots and was, unsurprisingly, a voice of reason when it came to choosing which portraits made the final series; after Olivia posted them on the wall in the studio, they were able to talk through what worked and what didn’t.

“I didn’t realize some of them weren’t working until I pinned them all up,” says Olivia.

When you’re creating something, you tend to erect blinders. That’s why outside opinion is important — particularly when it’s coming from someone who knows exactly who you are and how you operate.

Explains Brandon, “We’re close enough that if I’m working on something that she doesn’t like, she’ll just tell me.”

The eldest Locher is currently working on a project known as “Mazes to the Motherlode,” a series of black-and-white drawings and illustrations, a few of which hang over Olivia’s new desk. However, Brandon has mostly made his stamp in the music world. This past February, he released the debut album from Stage Hands, a collaboration with drummer/producer Gerald Mattis that combines a variety of genres and tones, from jazz to ambient electronica. Brandon compares the recording and mastering process similar to the one he and his sister used for evaluating “I Fought the Law.”

“It’s the same with me with music-making, to try to put together this entire collection of songs and have all of those songs and all of those sounds and everything that is happening within that 40 minutes working with each other,” he says.

Even if they don’t end up speaking about their work, each sibling has an unconscious effect on the other’s project: motivation. That’s how Olivia got into photography. At the time, Brandon had been entrenched in his hometown’s DIY music scene. Sensing a need to create on her own, she decided to pick up a camera and branch out. More than a decade later, they’re still challenging each other to reach and break through their limits.

“I think Olivia is always pushing me artistically,” says Brandon. “She’s making so much great stuff happen all the time every day. And if two or three days go by and I haven’t finished anything, I start thinking: ‘Hey, come on. Get with it, Brandon. What are you doing?’”

“We’ve always been very close creatively,” adds Olivia.

The two have since gone from siblings working off each other as kids to living with each other and creating their own unique works of art to collaborating on full-fledged projects. Down the road, they will release their first album called, appropriately, Family Teeth. The music is still being recorded but the album cover is set: a portrait of the duo by Olivia, where they appear painted in all black — far from the bright colors and tones the two have used in their work.

“I think it’s important as an artist to never repeat what it is the last thing you did,” says Brandon. “Yes, you could put out something that a lot of people could like, and then you could be very successful. But I feel like the challenge of the art is just to not repeat yourself and just keep giving people what they expect of you and what they think they want of you but to evolve and to develop and to take your work to another level. And then hopefully your audience will follow you.”

—Instagram @music

Thinking Outside the Square: Support for Landscape and Portrait Formats on Instagram

Thu, 08/27/2015 - 18:00

Today, we’re excited to announce that — in addition to square posts — you can now share photos and videos in both portrait and landscape orientation on Instagram. Square format has been and always will be part of who we are. That said, the visual story you’re trying to tell should always come first, and we want to make it simple and fun for you to share moments just the way you want to. It turns out that nearly one in five photos or videos people post aren’t in the square format, and we know that it hasn’t been easy to share this type of content on Instagram: friends get cut out of group shots, the subject of your video feels cramped and you can’t capture the Golden Gate Bridge from end to end. Now, when choosing a photo or video, you can tap the format icon to adjust the orientation to portrait or landscape instead of square. Once you share the photo, the full-sized version of it will appear to all of your followers in feed in a beautiful, natural way. To keep the clean feel of your profile grid, your post will appear there as a center-cropped square.

We’re especially excited about what this update means for video on Instagram, which in widescreen can be more cinematic than ever. While we’ve historically had separate filters for photos and for videos, all filters will now work on all types of moments. You can also adjust the intensity of filters on videos, too.

We continue to be inspired by the creativity and diversity of the Instagram community, and we can’t wait to see what you create next.

To learn more about the changes in today’s update, check out the Instagram Help Center.

Instagram for iOS version 7.5 is available today in Apple’s App Store, and Instagram for Android version 7.5 is available today on Google Play.

Dueling Beauty: Juxtaposition with @chris_mueller To see more...

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 19:05

Dueling Beauty: Juxtaposition with @chris_mueller

To see more of Chris’ photos, follow @chris_mueller on Instagram.

One reason Chris Mueller (@chris_mueller) wanted to move to Los Angeles was the light quality — “what happens late in the day, this golden sun,” he says. The 40-year-old dad, who owns a cold brew coffee company, is always looking for interesting juxtapositions while he is out walking or skateboarding.

“This neighborhood is turning into expensive homes and yet there’s a huge part of the population that isn’t changing at all. It’s this dueling beauty,” he says.

Inspired by photographer Robert Adams, Chris also composes his pictures thoughtfully — a discarded TV or a dinosaur statue where you might not even notice them. He says, “I’m trying to bring you here and show you some things. If you spend a minute, you can go deeper with this image.”

But Chris doesn’t always need to go far to find his subjects. Recently, seeing his daughter Carson on a swingset with a friend made him think about how kids are social creatures. “They’d swing past each other and smile, and it just hit that epic dimensional moment when things are happening. For me, just to shoot that was my way to engage them without physically talking to them or saying, ‘Wow, great!’ or ‘Go higher! That’s fun.’ Just peacefully take a couple photos, and that was my way to remember that moment.”

Hinds Just Want to Have Fun To see more of Hinds’ photos,...

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 16:35

Hinds Just Want to Have Fun

To see more of Hinds’ photos, check out @hindsband on Instagram. For more music stories, head to Instagram @music.

Here’s a fearless way to start a rock band: have no musical experience in the first place. Not that this dissuaded Hinds (@hindsband), a four-piece outfit from Madrid.

“We weren’t even musicians,” says Carlotta Cosials. “We just started the band because we wanted to.”

What originally began as a duo with Carlotta and her friend Ana García Perrote, has since turned into a quartet, currently performing and partying their way across the globe with their fuzzy garage rock and can-do, balls-to-the-wall attitude.

The girls — Carlotta and Ana on guitar and vocals, Ade Marin on bass and Amber Grimbergen on drums — were certainly in their element this past June, when they played their biggest gig to date: the Glastonbury Festival in England. None of them could sleep the night before — understandable considering the magnitude of the event.

“Pffffffwww, I am the worst. I really get nervous at almost every gig, and Glastonbury was almost a heart attack,” recalls Carlotta. “I mean, the night before, I was sharing a room with Ana and we both were on the beds petrified, in complete silence with our eyes open like: ‘Ana, dude, I can’t even talk.’ ‘I know, I know, I know. Shut up. I’m feeling the same.’ ‘Dude, I feel like tomorrow is my wedding or something.’

Still, knowing that Carlotta and the girls actually get nervous is rather surprising. It’s hard not to look at their photos, hear their music and watch them interact and not think they’re always having fun. Even the most downtrodden moments on tour seem like they’re filled with laughter, whether they’re singing karaoke in the car or having a jumping contest backstage.

“We’re just good at being in a good mood,” says Carlotta. “We are regular people. I mean, we also are bored sometimes … but at least we are bored in a good mood.”

They even laugh off one their more serious moments as a band, when they were forced to change their original name, Deers, due to another group being called it.

“The worst months were before doing it,” says Carlotta. “Once we changed it, it was just done. It just took time for people to get used to it. A lot of people still call us Deers, but we don’t mind! We were that band also. Sometimes we laugh at us because one of the names we almost chose was Weers [laughs].”

With the name change now far behind them — and that major Glastonbury gig out of the way — the group is looking to continue their tour of spreading fun and music to the rest of the world. That may mean wandering around a music festival and watching bands and accepting free wine from admirers, or espousing their motto when they get the chance “Our s—, our rules.”

“It’s just the way we used to justify [ourselves] when we started. We still say it,” says Carlotta of the group’s official slogan. “Like, talking to other musicians and them saying, ‘You can’t do a song without a chorus,’ or ‘You can’t do a guitar solo like that, that’s not a solo.’ We just look at each other and say ‘Dude, this is our s—, so this follows our rules. We’re gonna do the music that we f—ing want. We don’t care if it’s wrong if we like it.”

—Instagram @music

Bringing a City to Life with @legojacker To see more Legos come...

Tue, 08/25/2015 - 19:14

Bringing a City to Life with @legojacker

To see more Legos come to life, follow @legojacker on Instagram.

Playtime isn’t just for kids. Since Kanesan Nathan (@legojacker) moved to Melbourne, Australia, three and a half years ago, he has been hijacking everyday situations with toys. “It’s about playing outside, in spaces not usually associated with play, and reimagining and reinterpreting the city,” he says. A scooter and a car were parked on an empty street, and Kanesan saw a stage for a tiny rabbit to cast its shadow. The street art precinct of Hosier Lane became a runway for a bright plastic road roller. Kanesan, who is a marketing professional by day, looks for these settings — “reflections, street art, rooftops and cityscapes” — and plays with perspective to make his Legos appear larger than life. He will use digital manipulation, but only when it’s necessary for a concept.

Kanesan also makes pictures to comment on issues like immigration and education. He says, “Lego can often evoke strong positive childhood memories, so to connect that to showing injustice around the world is a very powerful combination.” No matter what, he’s having fun.

The Many Moods of Singer Luke Black To see more of Luke’s...

Tue, 08/25/2015 - 16:30

The Many Moods of Singer Luke Black

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

Serbian pop alchemist Luke Black (@lukeblackmusic) is looking back upon his days of few conventions — and fewer clothes.

“2012 was a very wild year for me,” he recalls. “My friends and I made these movies, we were naked all the time, I got kicked out of my apartment for having too many parties and I was having this Romeo and Juliet relationship where I was prepared to die for love. That’s when I wrote ‘D-Generation.’”

As befits its turbulent origins, Luke’s debut single is dark, intoxicating and hard to shake: a melancholic electro lament that invokes Depeche Mode and Massive Attack. Luke’s recent follow-up track, “Holding On To Love,” is similarly fixated on shadows and light. “That one was actually supposed to be a piano ballad,” he says. “But then I put in some electronic and club sounds too. I wanted it to be sad, but I also wanted to dance.”

That tension between melancholy and rapture is set to be further explored on a forthcoming EP, whose themes, says Luke, span, “Death, sex, biblical references, gypsy magic, screwing up and being very attached to someone.”

If this all sounds poetic, then that’s with good reason: Luke, who was born in Cacak, studied English literature and language in Belgrade. He swiftly fell for English romanticism, and honed a knack for wordplay which is evident throughout his lyrics, his song titles, and even his name (which he changed from Luka Ivanović).

That said, the multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter was already well-versed by the time of his studies: he’d been writing lyrics in English since he was 12. And he’s been making music and DIY recordings since the age of 16, as variously inspired by Boy George, Bruce Springsteen, techno, jazz and the geography of the imagination.

“I have this song called ‘Virtual Paris,’” he says. “I wrote it when I moved to the artistic part of Belgrade, because it has all these jazz bars and art galleries, and I felt like I was in Paris. I said to my friends, ‘Let’s make this place our Paris; let’s make this our New York.’ I had nothing in my hometown — there was only folk music or ex-Yugoslavian rock, there was no pop scene. So when I came to Belgrade, I was like a kid in a candy store. And I met a lot of other creatives – I’m not just influenced by music, I’m influenced by painters and photographers.”

Luke’s eye for art is evident. From his monochrome portraits to his stark, reflective artwork to his day-glo, kamikaze video clips, there’s a striking visual identity at work. “I consider myself to be a pop musician, and with pop music, you can do anything,” he says. “There’s a sense of freedom and I always think of the audio-visual experience. When I write a song, I imagine what I’ll be wearing and what the video will be like.”

As with his music, there’s contrast and tension in his photos, too. “They vary from color to color, from filter to filter — the colors change depending on my mood. So if I’m happy it’s probably yellowish, and you can see the periods where I’m sad. It’s like a visual diary. It’s like a mood ring,” he laughs. His pop and art may come veiled in a dark filter, but his future looks far from black.

—Nicola Meighan for Instagram @music

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPabstract Weekend Hashtag Project...

Mon, 08/24/2015 - 19:24

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPabstract

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 prompt was #WHPabstract, which asked participants to make photographs of everyday objects or environments — and show them in unrecognizable or surprising ways. Every Monday we feature some of our favorite submissions from the project, but be sure to check out the rest here.

Capturing the Intangible with @fabiolamounier To see more of...

Mon, 08/24/2015 - 14:22

Capturing the Intangible with @fabiolamounier

To see more of Fábio’s photographs and videos, follow @fabiolamounier on Instagram.

(This interview was conducted in Portuguese.)

For 25-year-old Brazilian photographer and videomaker Fábio Lamounier (@fabiolamounier), film is a way to turn his insides out, sharing a little of himself with the world. His day-to-day observations got him reflecting about virtual relationships and how to portray them artistically. “I started thinking about how these virtual romances and friendships are often intangible: touch, space and skin are all missing,” he says of a three-part video series he created, in which skin can’t feel, feet can’t walk and hands can’t touch. Fábio’s fixation with the body comes from his longtime muse: dance. “I’m not a dancer myself, but I’ve always been attracted by dance, be it fluid, fast or aggressive,” he says. “Movement is about feelings, stories and memories.”

The Long Journey to Hitting the Road with @aluminumhustle To...

Sun, 08/23/2015 - 19:02

The Long Journey to Hitting the Road with @aluminumhustle

To see more from Sara and Dillon’s Airstream adventures, follow @aluminumhustle on Instagram.

It was only supposed to take two months for Dillon Spranley and Sara Goehner (@aluminumhustle) to renovate their vintage, 34-foot (10-meter) Airstream. But decades of neglect in swampy rural Mississippi took its toll on the trailer: the duo had to contend with rust, flood damage and the remnants of what Dillon hypothesized were “crazy rodent parties.” But after four months of labor, with some guidance from Sara’s father, a retired contractor, they were ready to set out.

The two’s professions — Sara is an animator and Dillon a hairstylist and jewelry-maker — afford them the freedom to work from anywhere. So they plan to spend the next couple of years crisscrossing the continent, from Alaska to Florida. “We think in about two years we will reevaluate, possibly continuing to travel or settle down in a place we both loved the most to conquer other dreams we have,” says Dillon.

The Week on Instagram | 197 News Vogue: Tony Gum Might Be the...

Sun, 08/23/2015 - 14:02

The Week on Instagram | 197


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Capturing Life at a Different Pace with @orlandobarriaphotos To...

Sat, 08/22/2015 - 19:04

Capturing Life at a Different Pace with @orlandobarriaphotos

To discover more of life in the Dominican Republic, follow @orlandobarriaphotos on Instagram.

(This interview was conducted in Spanish.)

Moving from the ice-cold Chilean side of Patagonia to the overwhelming heat of the Caribbean is just one of the changes Orlando Barria (@orlandobarriaphotos), went through when he relocated with his family to the Dominican Republic.

“In general, life here is pretty easy because people are modest,” says Orlando of his life in Santo Domingo, the country’s capital. “They always try to have a good time, smile for most of the day. Here time has a different pace, it doesn’t hurry as much as it does in Chile.”

But as a photojournalist, Orlando must think quick on his feet. “The most important thing for me is to mix in my photos all the elements you need to understand the news when you see the image.” His says his job is most challenging during hurricane season, which he describes as a lottery: “You have to wear wet clothes on those days and your equipment usually gets pretty damaged.”

Finding Magic in Everyday Occurrences with...

Sat, 08/22/2015 - 14:03

Finding Magic in Everyday Occurrences with @thelittlethings_love

To see more of Corla’s photos celebrating the love for life, follow @thelittlethings_love on Instagram.

(This interview was conducted in German.)

The venturesome flight of a ladybug, a pleasant shadow cooling the skin, the touching lightheartedness of children playing – Corla Schöner’s (@thelittlethings_love) photographs are like a love song to life. And for her, everyday moments are the melody. “They are pure, fragile and at the same time so incredibly strong that they soak our thick skin and, if we allow it, get up in our soul,” says the special education teacher from Frankfurt, Germany.

Corla lets her images tell little fairy tales beyond words, taking the viewer on a journey. “I think that photography can be a way to reach this well-protected and often hidden place within ourselves. A place that not only shelters our desires and fears, but at the same time is the place where our individual freedom, joy and creativity is born.”

#**Bridging the Gap: The Inside Story of Damian Lillard’s...

Fri, 08/21/2015 - 21:29

#**Bridging the Gap: The Inside Story of Damian Lillard’s 4BarFriday**

For more rhymes, check out the @4barfriday account and hashtag on Instagram. For more music stories, head to Instagram @music.

“I want people to see that it’s not a game, it’s not a joke.”

Few ballplayers not named Shaquille O’Neal have found any sort of real success in the rap world; in fact, the mere thought of a baller trying to spit bars can draw jeers from the bleachers. But for Damian Lillard @damianlillard, the Portland Trail Blazers’ 2012-13 Rookie of the Year point guard, there is hope. Through a handful of remixes the 25-year-old released directly to SoundCloud this offseason, Damian has proven, undeniably, that he can actually rap. And through a clever Instagram account and hashtag he created called #4BarFriday, where rappers share 15-second videos of themselves reciting short rhyming couplets, he’s spent the past two years not necessarily proclaiming himself the greatest rapper alive, but rather using his star power to shine a light on others who might actually be just that.

“I knew if I started putting out rhymes some people might think it’s corny and some people might not pay attention to it,” says Damian, who also goes by the emcee name Dame DOLLA. “But #4BarFriday was a way for me to get a lot of my fans and people who are fans of the game to see that there was someone in the NBA that was serious about music. And using your platform and having an impact on other people’s lives, giving them opportunity, is what it’s all about.”

Damian grew up in Oakland and was raised in a music-loving household, cutting his teeth to the sounds of classic soul — The Temptations, Al Green, the Gap Band — and hip-hop. “I’ve always liked music with substance,” he says, namechecking Nas, Tupac, Notorious B.I.G. and Lil Wayne as some of his favorites. “Something you can feel.” He began rapping in middle school, spitting rhymes while his friends beat their fists against the seats on the bus to school. Later, one of his assistant coaches recorded his songs in his home studio. “In high school,” he remembers, “we’d come out to our own songs.”

His first love was basketball though, so as his career took off, jumping from Weber State to the Blazers, rapping became more of an ancillary thing — merely a creative outlet, helping him express thoughts and feelings about what he was seeing and experiencing. The rise, the fall, the ups, the downs; life at the bottom, where he’d just come from, and life at the top, where he is now.

“When I got into the league, there was so much more that I started to see,” he says. “I was exposed to so many more different things. I learned so much more, so I had a lot more to say. Because of that, I became a better rapper.”

Then, two years ago, a lightbulb went off in Damian’s head — he could start using short-form video, and his growing legion of followers, to build an online community for rappers.

“I thought: 15 seconds is just long enough to say four bars,” he says. “If someone is coming week after week with a hard four bars, and you look at what they’re saying, you can see if they’re really nice.”

Through #4BarFriday — which reblogs the best videos each week on its dedicated page — Damian’s been able to expose his own skills, and at the same time, put the spotlight on a wealth of talent hidden below the music industry’s radar. Last February, he flew a group of them down to New Orleans for a #4BarFriday battle during NBA All-Star Weekend.

Some, like Milwaukee-bred emcee L.E.X. (@1lexdarapper), 23, and Virginia-native Timeless TeeZ (@teezysodope), 28, have been uploading videos since the beginning, and through the community, they’ve not only gained an ally in Damian, they’ve earned new fans and friends as well.

“I’m an independent artist and I do everything on my own,” says TeeZ, who when she’s not rapping, coaches youth basketball and is a program coordinator and leader at a community center. “But each week the response gets better and better. I gain fans. Every day there are people who repost me that I’ve never met. And it’s also helped me hone my skills as an artist, because if you’re rapping weekly — for the public — it helps you get better. So I honestly think it’s just the beginning as far as something major happening.”

L.E.X., who raps and goes to college, echoes this, and says the page has put him in touch with other #4BarFriday emcees, whom he now calls “brothers.” “One week, we got on WhatsApp,” he recalls, “and we’re like, ‘Let’s all rap on this beat on Friday, and then we’ll make it like a cipher, online.’” Still, while he admits the exposure is great, it takes more than four bars for an artist to prove their worth. “People put a lot of effort into four bars,” he says. “But it takes even more effort to put it into a verse and a song. So, it can give you a glimpse of how good a person is, but you still have to work outside of #4BarFriday.”

Which is where Damian himself has netted out. After showing his 1.5 million Instagram followers he could spit a hot line or two, Dame DOLLA finally began releasing freestyles in July, kicking aspirational rhymes over beats like Future’s “F— Up Some Commas,” Kanye West’s “The Food” and Jadakiss’ “Why,” among others. Original songs by himself and with the #4BarFriday alums are forthcoming. For now, what is turning heads the most is not Damian’s flow or delivery but rather his thoughtfulness, maturity and introspection, which neither athletes nor rappers are particularly well-known for, at least not this early in their careers.

“People are impressed that it’s real rap, not just a basketball player rapping,” he says. “I’m a college graduate and I’ve experienced a lot of things in my life. I’ve seen not being successful and I’ve seen being successful. I’ve seen growing up in a really bad neighborhood and living in a really nice neighborhood. Being able to see both sides, it helps. I feel like I can bridge that gap.”

—Paul Cantor for Instagram @music

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPabstract Weekend Hashtag Project...

Fri, 08/21/2015 - 19:00

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPabstract

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 make photographs of everyday objects or environments—and show them in unrecognizable or surprising ways. Some tips to get you started:

  • Focus on capturing your subject from a unique or warped perspective to see it in a new way, like from an unexpected angle, through a reflection or especially close or far away.
  • Think about the overall impression of color, shape and mood in your image rather than capturing something identifiable.
  • Try illustrating an intangible concept, thought or emotion through a creatively staged photograph.

PROJECT RULES: Please add the #WHPabstract hashtag only 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.

Redefining the Selfie with @allydelmonte For more from Ally’s...

Fri, 08/21/2015 - 14:00

Redefining the Selfie with @allydelmonte

For more from Ally’s life in selfies, follow @allydelmonte on Instagram. For more inspiring young voices from around the world, follow @weday and explore the #weday hashtag on Instagram.

“#Hellomynameis Ally Del Monte (@allydelmonte). I live in Connecticut and I just turned 17. I’ve been bullied my entire life because of my weight, and for a long time I couldn’t see anything beautiful about me. Then I started to take more photos, and looked hard to find my own beauty. Now, I take selfies all the time. Sometimes it changes your day to find a great picture of yourself. Whenever you feel cute, you should take a selfie. Even if you don’t feel cute, you should take a selfie, because you can always find one feature that is wonderful. I want to help other teens understand that no matter what others say, there is always something to love about yourself.

I’m really big into music. After having a bad night when I felt hopeless about myself, I heard ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ by One Direction the next day on the radio. Even though they didn’t know me, hearing them say things like, 'No, girl, you’re good. You’re beautiful,’ helped me a lot. I’ve become a really big fan of them. I’ve made so many friends through online communities — like, being a fan of One Direction or Five Seconds of Summer or Demi Lovato. Going to concerts, I get to share these songs that have helped me through a hard time, or that have made me happy, with other people. It’s inspired me to start writing and recording my own music, to share my story and my version of hope with others.”

Documenting the Lives of Water Buffalo with @phukradung To see...

Thu, 08/20/2015 - 19:15

Documenting the Lives of Water Buffalo with @phukradung

To see more photos and videos of water buffalo on Phukradung’s farm, follow @phukradung on Instagram.

(This interview was conducted in Thai.)

In a small village in Thailand’s Sakon Nakhon Province, Phukradung Ungjaroensukan (@phukradung) grows fruit trees on his family’s farm. But his true pride and joy are the native Thai water buffalo that he’s raising there. Four years ago, three of the animals were on their way to a slaughterhouse before Phukradung and his wife, along with friends who made financial contributions, rescued them. Now, the herd has grown to six — including three calves that were born on the farm. Over the years, Phukradung has developed a deep affinity for the creatures. “They can recognize their owners very well,” he says. “Khao Pan, the six-month-old calf, always makes a sound and approaches me whenever she sees me.” For Phukradung, documenting the animals serves as a way to let others know just how precious they are. “I post their pictures on Instagram not only to let people see the buffalo from my point of view, but also to let all the people who saved the three buffalo see how they are living now.”

Japanese Rockers The Telephones Look to Hang it Up (For Now) ...

Thu, 08/20/2015 - 18:22

Japanese Rockers The Telephones Look to Hang it Up (For Now)

To see more photos of the Telephones, check out @akiraishige, @nobu_thetelephones, @seijimatumoto and @ryoheeey on Instagram. For more music stories, head to Instagram @music.

For Telephones guitarist Akira Ishige (@akiraishige), the last decade has gone by in a flash.

“We’ve done nothing but this band for 10 years,” he says. “The year we made our mainstream debut, we probably saw each other for 300 days out of 365 days — maybe more.”

After 2015, Akira and his bandmates — Seiji Matsumoto (@seijimatumoto), Ryohei Nagashima (@ryoheeey) and Nobuaki Okamoto (@nobu_thetelephones) — will have to get used to not spending time together, as the Japanese rockers are set to take an indefinite and much deserved break. For bassist Ryohei, it will be a chance to try things outside of the daily grind of touring and band life.

“I spent the most sensitive years of my life playing for this band,” he says. “All of us have never experienced having regular jobs and being out in society — we want to have a fresh take on things and experience the hardships that we haven’t had the chance to experience.”

Though the members are set to go their separate ways, Ryohei states the obvious: music is and always will be a part of who he is, even when it’s not his full-time job. “I don’t dedicate all my time to music, as I love fishing and other outdoor sports,” he says. “I became a musician with the mindset that music is not necessarily everything for me. I don’t have to be heads down about music. I want it to be something that casually keeps flowing into my life.”

–Instagram @music