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@thedancingwind Captures the Yellowstone Most Tourists Never...

Sat, 01/16/2016 - 16:09

@thedancingwind Captures the Yellowstone Most Tourists Never See

Explore more of Yellowstone through Stephanie’s eyes by following @thedancingwind on Instagram.

It appears Stephanie Baker (@thedancingwind) has free range of Yellowstone National Park. But in truth, she’s on the beaten path — only at an hour few tourists dare. “If you get up before the sun when it’s 15 below there’s literally no one there,” Stephanie says. “I have actually seen Old Faithful erupt all by myself. Being alone in the park is just a matter of getting up and out super early.” No challenge for the woman who moved from New Jersey to Driggs, Idaho, to be close to the park’s action — including its wildlife. “That’s what I try to do: show beautiful animals that are worth being preserved,” Stephanie explains.

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPLocalLens Weekend Hashtag Project...

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 22:40

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPLocalLens

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 every week announcing the latest project.

The goal this weekend is to give an insider’s look into your community through creative photos and videos. Here’s how to get started:

  • Whether it’s the architecture, wildlife, cuisine or local customs, focus on what makes where you live unlike anywhere else.
  • Head to local places a tourist might not know about and include tips in your caption about the best hidden spots to explore.
  • Add a location tag when you upload your photo so others can see more images from your hometown.

PROJECT RULES: Please add the #WHPLocalLens hashtag only to photos and videos taken over this weekend and only submit your own visuals to the project. Any tagged photo or video taken over the weekend is eligible to be featured next week.

Defying Gravity with Professional Acrobat @scottamcdonald Watch...

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 15:59

Defying Gravity with Professional Acrobat @scottamcdonald

Watch more of Scott’s amazing videos by following @scottamcdonald.

Professional acrobat Scott McDonald’s (@scottamcdonald) mesmerizing trampoline feats only look effortless. “That’s where the work is,” the 27-year-old says. “I am not the most naturally talented acrobat. So what I try to do instead is work unique ideas, uncommon moves you don’t see all the time.” Canadian-born Scott studied martial arts as a child, and when he was 15 he started practicing flips at a gym also used by some Cirque du Soleil performers. It was there Scott was exposed to different circus disciplines, like hand balancing and aerial arts, learning firsthand what happens behind the scenes. “Circus hurts,” he says. “It’s beautiful to watch, but it takes a lot of training.”

A Color Character a Day with Japanese Artist @m.y1010 Check out...

Thu, 01/14/2016 - 21:58

A Color Character a Day with Japanese Artist @m.y1010

Check out all of Mika’s color characters by following @m.y1010 on Instagram.

(This interview was conducted in Japanese.)

Mika Yamada’s (@m.y1010) initial inspiration for her “aya-moji” (color characters)? Kimono artisans from the 1600s through the 1800s. “The more I learned about design patterns and their names, the more impressed I was with the creativity of the designers back in the Edo period,” says Tokyo-based Mika, who shared a new, intricate paper aya-moji every day last year. “I cut out the character 桜 [cherry tree] when cherry blossom season was officially announced, and a combination of the character 大 [big] and snowflake patterns for the 21st season on the lunar calendar to express the solar term 大雪 [major snow].” Mika hopes to continue this daily practice in 2016.

It’s a Small World After All: Traveling the Globe with the...

Thu, 01/14/2016 - 16:40

It’s a Small World After All: Traveling the Globe with the Rapper Oddisee

To see more of Oddisee’s travels, check out @oddisee on Instagram. For more music stories, head to @music.

A few years ago, Oddisee (@oddisee) was on his way to Heathrow Airport when his cab driver, a Turkish man, made a comment that had a profound effect on his worldview: “The world’s a big place and when you travel, you realize how small it is.”

Having performed around the world and paid regular visits to his father’s home country of Sudan, the Washington, D.C.-born, Brooklyn-based rapper has a love for experiencing new cultures and learning more about humanity along the way. “Through my travels I’ve learned that we’re not that different,” he says. “Whether it’s race, culture, creed, religion, most of us are fighting for the same things. The problems, the achievements, the trials and tribulations we face are happening around the world.”

That belief turned into the theme of The Good Fight, his critically acclaimed, thought-provoking 2015 album. As an avid photographer, he decided to document his months-long international tour behind the LP in a unique fashion. For each stop, he’d create a triptych — one black-and-white shot with the city’s name written over it, bookended by two color photos that create a cinematic montage-like effect for his feed.

“I wanted people to go back and look at the entire tour,” he says. “I wanted to find a way to let fans know I have been to their city, I performed there or I experienced the town in some way, shape or form. Someone would say, ‘Shame I missed you’ or, ‘Can’t wait for you to come back.’”

Oddisee originally got into photography six or seven years back, starting with a point-and-shoot and improving his gear as he grew more in love with the hobby. He makes sure his camera is “glued” to him so he can capture all the interesting things he sees while walking around before gigs or traveling from city to city. “We’ll look at where the venue is, where the closest river is, where the districts are and familiarize ourselves with the neighborhood. That way, when we jump out of the van, we can say, ‘Let’s go shoot something over here.’” Being the lead vocalist has its perks, too — Oddisee is the last to sound check, giving him more time to venture out for a “golden hour” of sightseeing.

That said, traveling the world isn’t always easy — particularly for Oddisee. As a Muslim (his real name is Amir Mohamed el Khalifa), he’s used to extra security screenings, and though he’s disappointed in Donald Trump’s recent remarks about the Islamic faith, he doesn’t harbor any anger. “I’ve been going through it since 9/11, man,” he says of airport hassles. “We laugh at it at this point. It’s our policy that’s to blame. I’m not mad at Trump or anyone else. If you truly take time to understand someone, you should be left with nothing but sympathy and remorse.”

And that all leads back to his battle to be more understanding, tolerant and empathic: “If you believe in it, if it’s your calling, it doesn’t feel like a fight in the first place.”

— Dan Reilly for Instagram @music

In Your Face and on the Road with @muhdhidayatullah To see more...

Wed, 01/13/2016 - 21:59

In Your Face and on the Road with @muhdhidayatullah

To see more of his powerful portraits, follow (@muhdhidayatullah) on Instagram.

You’d never guess from his up-close-and-personal portraits that Muhammad Hidayatullah (@muhdhidayatullah) is completely self-taught. “All that I have to do is to immerse myself into the moments around me,” the 26-year-old photographer and filmmaker from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, says. “I believe we all have some special stories that can be inspiring to others.” He studied architecture in school, but Muhammad is currently on the third of a five-year project in India, capturing the spirit and essence of life in the country for his first travel photography book, Beyond Borders.

The idea of getting so close and interacting with people may be intimidating to some, but not Muhammad — he loves seeing how people react to his camera. “Most of the time people will smile at me and laugh while taking their pictures,” he says.

A Search for the Best Hip-Hop Art on Instagram To see more...

Wed, 01/13/2016 - 16:38

A Search for the Best Hip-Hop Art on Instagram

To see more hip-hop-influenced art, check out #hiphopart on Instagram. For more music stories, head to @music.

@music is looking for the best hip-hop art on Instagram. Do you have a fondness for making portraits of Drake? Or drawing sketches of Kendrick Lamar? Or painting watercolors of Snoop? Good news. Over the next year, we’ll be featuring the best rap art right here on the Instagram blog. “But wait,” you’re probably asking yourself. “How do I participate?” Great question, anonymous user. It’s easy: all you need to do is create a visual that’s influenced by hip-hop in some way, tag it #hiphopart, then post. If we select the image, it will show up right here (as well as on @music). Pretty simple, right? Excited to see what everyone has in store.

— Instagram @music

Award-Winning and Unexpected Floral Designs with @zizkonata To...

Tue, 01/12/2016 - 22:10

Award-Winning and Unexpected Floral Designs with @zizkonata

To see more of Natalia’s amazing floral arrangements, follow @zizkonata on Instagram.

(This interview was conducted in Russian.)

Moscow floral designer Natalia Zhizhko (@zizkonata) is creatively sparked by the inherent beauty of nature, but she also looks to less expected sources when developing an arrangement. “I draw inspiration from extraordinary landmarks, architecture and art,” Natalia explains. The internationally decorated designer travels all over the world to compete, but for Natalia, it’s all in the name of joy: “Whenever I work with flowers, I’m in a great mood.”

More Art, Less Chaos, by Music Photographer Nesrin Danan To see...

Tue, 01/12/2016 - 17:44

More Art, Less Chaos, by Music Photographer Nesrin Danan

To see more photos from Nesrin, check out @blackprints on Instagram. For more music stories, head to @music.

“#hellomynameis Nesrin Danan (@blackprints). I’m 20 years old and I live in Portland, Oregon. I got into photography in high school, but one day I took my camera to a Macklemore show. I scanned the photos, put them online and people really liked them. That’s where it all started. I’m a big fan of rap and hip-hop, and it’s been awesome because I get to shoot with people I actually listen to, like G-Eazy.

I wasn’t allowed to go to shows when I was younger, and the fact that I can make my photos instantly accessible for people who can’t go is really cool to me. When you’re in the crowd, it’s hot and sweaty, everyone’s pushing you — it’s stressful. But shooting side stage or from an empty pit is very different. I try to bring that to the audience in my photos — less chaotic, more artistic.

People call the shots in the music industry, and you have to have the right people interested in your work to move forward. To do that, you can’t be a diva, you can’t be a jerk — you just have to be a really nice person.”

On the Road and in the Stadium with @samanthaponder To see more...

Tue, 01/12/2016 - 00:59

On the Road and in the Stadium with @samanthaponder

To see more of Samantha’s college football coverage, follow @samanthaponder on Instagram.

From legendary coaches to crazed tailgaters, College GameDay (@collegegameday) host Samantha Ponder (@samanthaponder) constantly travels to cover every aspect of NCAA football. “It’s a dream job, but definitely not what people think in terms of some pampered lifestyle,” says Samantha, who balances work by spending time with her husband, NFL quarterback Christian Ponder, and their 18-month-old daughter Scout, who often accompanies mom on the road. “This isn’t like covering pro teams where you stay in big cities and fancy hotels — we’re getting the full college experience.” That often means dorm-like hotels and a fast-food diet, but Samantha isn’t complaining — even when she finds herself sitting in the rain for hours before a Notre Dame versus Clemson game, like she did earlier this season. “The weather was miserable but the fans were insane and it really showed what I love about college football,” she says. “Those are always the most fun, when you can’t hear yourself think.”

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPvideoportrait Weekend Hashtag...

Mon, 01/11/2016 - 21:56

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPvideoportrait

Weekend Hashtag Project is a series featuring designated themes and hashtags. For a chance to be featured, follow @instagram and look for a post every week announcing the latest project.

#WHPvideoportrait asked community members to make video portraits that captured the personality and spirits of their subjects. Each week, we feature some of our favorite submissions from the project, but be sure to check out the rest here.

Creating Beautiful Portraits of the Stars at the Golden Globes...

Mon, 01/11/2016 - 05:39

Creating Beautiful Portraits of the Stars at the Golden Globes with @inezandvinoodh

To see more of the photographers’ best work, follow @inezandvinoodh on Instagram.

At the 73rd annual Golden Globes Awards (@goldenglobes) in Beverly Hills, the photographers Inez and Vinoodh (@inezandvinoodh) will only have brief moments in time to build trust and create beautiful portraits of the night’s honorees — but Inez calls these quick connections addictive.

“We really like people,” says Inez, who always photographs alongside Vinoodh, each with their own camera, “and the idea of finding the most iconic, the most heroic, the most timeless, the most essential image of someone.”

Each portrait will be in Inez and Vinoodh’s signature style: black-and-white images with bright lights and deep shadows.

“I like to keep the lighting setup the same so that I can entirely focus on the person in front of me,” Inez says. “It’s forgetting your ego and giving everything to the person so that you can focus on what makes them incredible.”

Keeping Tabs on His Inner Child with ‘Inside Out’ Animator...

Sun, 01/10/2016 - 22:35

Keeping Tabs on His Inner Child with ‘Inside Out’ Animator @donshank

To see more artwork by Don and his adorable daughters, follow @donshank on Instagram.

“I always liked to draw cartoons, but I also always wanted to make movies,” Oakland, California, art director Don Shank (@donshank) says. “When I was about 8 years old, I was watching Bugs Bunny cartoons and it dawned on me: I didn’t have to choose. I could do both!” Today, Don works at Pixar, the American computer animation studio responsible for the Golden Globe-nominated film, Inside Out. He’s drawn to Parisian artists from the turn of the 20th century, but Don also finds inspiration and enthusiasm from his two daughters, Chloe and Phoebe. “Every day that I drop my youngest off at preschool we sit and draw a few pages together. It’s the best,” Don says. “Children have such a lack of preconception when they make art that it always seems so raw and free and fun.”

The Week on Instagram | 217 News Hollywood Reporter: Instagram...

Sun, 01/10/2016 - 16:59

The Week on Instagram | 217


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Stripped Down Silhouettes with @saintemaria To see more of her...

Sat, 01/09/2016 - 21:21

Stripped Down Silhouettes with @saintemaria

To see more of her illustrations, follow @saintemaria on Instagram.

Maria Sainte (@saintemaria) sees negative space as a positive quality. “I love the feeling of air around an object,” says Maria, an illustrator from Orel, Russia. “It allows you to see the thing stripped down, without the unnecessary details.” She creates hand-painted fashion illustrations — often in muted color palettes and avant-garde silhouettes, which remind her of traditional Asian costumes. “Illustrating is the perfect way for me to combine things I love in life: fashion garments, art, simplicity and artistic freedom.”

Two of a Kind: The Rise of Pop-Rap Duo Jack & Jack To see...

Sat, 01/09/2016 - 16:39

Two of a Kind: The Rise of Pop-Rap Duo Jack & Jack

To see more from Jack & Jack, check out @jackjackjohnson and @jackgilinsky on Instagram. For more music stories, head to @music.

On the day Jack Johnson met Jack Gilinsky, they wore the exact same T-shirt.

“I remember that day so clearly. It was just one of those freaky coincidental things that kindergarteners become best friends over,” says Johnson, who was 5 years old at the time. (Gilinsky was 4.)

Fifteen years later, they transferred that “freaky coincidence” into the self-titled pop and rap duo, Jack & Jack. To Johnson and Gilinsky, making music together was as inevitable as their friendship. “He was always listening to Eminem and Tupac and Biggie, and making his own original raps. He has this crazy timing and alliteration,” says Gilinsky of Johnson. “The thought of making [original] music was never in my head. Once I saw Jack J, my little buddy, doing it, I thought it was so cool.”

“It was so natural to us,” adds Johnson, “We both had this passion for music, me rapping and Jack singing.”

Less natural was finding an audience in their small hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, to listen to it. “My friends were kind of making fun of us,” says Johnson, “We were like, ‘Everyone has dreams. Let’s just take the college route, live a typical life.’” But that changed once the two students started sharing their talents online.

“It was pretty much just me and Jack and an iPhone. I was the only guy he could share his raps with,” says Gilinsky, “We amassed a tiny following of three or four thousand, just making parodies of Top 40 songs.” Adds Johnson, “We literally would spend hours writing lyrics. That was where we fell in love with being on camera and making music.”

The fans’ overwhelming response to the collaboration was integral to the inception of Jack & Jack, the musical duo. “We went in the comments, and there were people saying ‘Why aren’t you making originals? Make some originals!’” recalls Johnson. “We were just messing around, but this was actually taking on a life of its own.”

When they finally released their own song, recorded in a makeshift studio in Omaha, and which Gilinsky describes as “mediocre-sounding,” it broke the Top 100 chart on iTunes. “It wasn’t the greatest song, I’ll be the first to admit that,” says Johnson, “But the fact that it broke the top 100 while being what it was just kind of showed the power of our fanbase.”

Johnson and Gilinsky take their growing status as musicians seriously. There may not be a distinct “Jack & Jack sound” yet, but it’s something they’re working toward. “We haven’t put out as much music this year, just because we don’t want to rush anything,” says Johnson “We know these next songs we’re putting out, we have eyeballs on us. So we want to make sure they’re exactly what we want.”

Luckily, the challenge is easier when you have a lifelong friend by your side.

“Nobody can make me laugh like Jack makes me laugh,” says Johnson, “He is the best friend I could ask for.”

“He’s just always there,” agrees Gilinsky. “He’s always willing to work, and knowing that is very comforting. We’re best friends. We’ve been together always. And we always will be.”

—Instagram @music

Giving Spiders and Snakes a Second Chance with...

Sat, 01/09/2016 - 15:58

Giving Spiders and Snakes a Second Chance with @biodiversilary

To see more creatures in a new light, follow @biodiversilary on Instagram.

Entomology enthusiast Lary Reeves (@biodiversilary) is devoted to rebranding a number of creatures. “There are a whole lot of species that are thought of in pop culture as creepy or scary or not worthy of our empathy, but the closer you look at things, the more you understand them,” Lary, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Florida, says. His startling photography captures organisms like mosquitoes, spiders and snakes in a way most people never see.

With other young scientists, Lary co-founded the group Racers that shares stories from their fieldwork. By supporting biodiversity conservation, they hope to combat climate change. “The severity is going to come down to the actions of individuals,” he says. “Hopefully by fostering appreciation, we might, in some small way, impact actions — how much we drive, how we use resources like fossil fuel and electricity. It all contributes.”

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPvideoportrait Weekend Hashtag...

Fri, 01/08/2016 - 22:01

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPvideoportrait

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 every week announcing the latest project.

The goal this weekend is to create video portraits that capture the personality and spirit of your subject. Here’s how to get started:

  • Integrate movement and ambient sounds that paint a fuller picture of your subject. For example, use action to portray a person’s hobbies or talents.
  • Choose a setting that’s most natural to your subject and their story — whether it’s a skater gliding through city streets or a craftsperson surrounded by their art in the studio.
  • Often, the magic moments happen as you finish a scene. Keep the camera rolling after you think it’s time to stop.

PROJECT RULES: Please add the #WHPvideoportrait hashtag only to videos taken over this weekend and only submit your own visuals to the project. Any tagged video taken over the weekend is eligible to be featured next week.

Australia’s Song of the Year Winner Conrad Sewell on His New EP,...

Fri, 01/08/2016 - 16:37

Australia’s Song of the Year Winner Conrad Sewell on His New EP, Working with Kygo and Dreaming Big”

To see more from Conrad, check out @conradofficial on Instagram. For more music stories, head to @music.

The Sewell family ended 2015 in dramatic fashion, with 27-year-old pop singer Conrad Sewell (@conradofficial) and his sister, Grace, both up for Song of the Year at the ARIAs, Australia’s equivalent of the Grammys. Conrad ultimately won the top prize, for his Gospel-tinged piano ballad “Start Again.” As big brothers are wont to do, he made sure to tease Grace about it when they were both home for Christmas.

“That was pretty crazy,” says Conrad, about the siblings’ nominations. “I didn’t think I was going to win so I didn’t have anything planned out.”

Conrad may have just released his first EP, All I Know, but he’s far from green. Prior to his solo career, he got signed to a deal in Sweden, and began recording with the rock band Sons of Midnight. But the arrangement didn’t last long.

“It was kind of weird,” says Conrad. “I always had my eye set on America and English-speaking countries. This wasn’t necessarily where I thought my career was going to go, but it opened a lot of doors. It taught me songwriting. It was kind of a boot camp — we were doing tours, festivals. It threw me into the deep end.”

Conrad soon changed gears and moved to Los Angeles, where he transitioned into solo work. That eventually led him to “Firestone,” a catchy, tropical house track that he recorded with Kygo. The tune went on to become an international smash, amassing hundreds of millions of streaming views.

“I pretty much just wrote the song for my album then somebody told me about Kygo — he liked my voice and the next thing you know it became a single,” says Conrad. “When it had a million streams in a day, I was just like, ‘Wow.’ Pretty much instantaneously it connected. It all happened so quickly.”

Luckily, Conrad has been preparing for this moment since he was a kid. At the age of six, he was already singing Michael Jackson songs in front of the mirror — glove and all.

“I was always obsessed with singing,” he says. “I loved the feeling. I wanted to do everything to make that happen.”

Now Conrad will be able to give America a taste of what he’s about with his new EP, which includes the aforementioned “Firestone” and “Start Again,” along with the dance synth-heavy tune “Shadow.”

“I am just looking forward to putting out music and getting a buzz going.”

—Instagram @music

The Weird and Whimsy Stop-Motion World of...

Fri, 01/08/2016 - 16:00

The Weird and Whimsy Stop-Motion World of @moogabooga_animation

To watch more of their amazing animated shorts, follow @moogabooga_animation on Instagram.

(This interview was conducted in Japanese.)

It’s increasingly rare to see stop-motion animation outside of children’s programming, but Japanese husband-and-wife duo Makoto Takano and Ayako Oda (@moogabooga_animation) celebrate the style with their adult-friendly, intricately crafted shorts. “In a way, stop-motion is artisanal work — if you don’t keep moving your hands then they go blunt, just like a craftsman’s tools.”

Drawing inspiration from Japanese mythological monsters like the long-nosed Tengu, their unique brand of eerie is tempered by a childlike atmosphere of innocence. “I first got into the genre through the Czech film director Jan Švankmajer when I was a high school student,” Makoto says. “His work is quite grotesque, and it was a big influence.”