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#LocalLens: Time Travel through Luanda with @notflavio In this...

Fri, 08/07/2015 - 14:08

#LocalLens: Time Travel through Luanda with @notflavio

In this series, local Instagrammers show you their favorite places to shoot around where they live. To see more photos of Luanda, Angola, through Flávio’s eyes, follow @notflavio on Instagram.

Flávio Cardoso (@notflavio) is an experienced time traveler, simultaneously capturing Angola’s past and present. Through his camera, the 27-year-old information technology advisor from Luanda records nostalgic relics, like aging walls and shattered windows, scattered amid shiny new architectural designs in his southern African hometown. “People just let go of things they once treasured. There’s a lot you can tell from the past when it’s left abandoned,” he says. Flávio’s fascination with old objects is very much a result of his surroundings. “You get all sorts of contrasts around here; from the richest people in Africa to very poor people struggling to survive in the streets to expensive luxury cars parked right next to rotting, used commuters,” he explains.

Lucky for Flávio, there are many nearby places to explore Luanda’s history and make new memories for himself. “One of my favorite places is certainly Santiago Beach, also known as Ship’s Graveyard, where several decomposing ships were left abandoned. This is also where Natalia Vieira (@nat_rvieira), Rui Jorge (@ruyjorgee) and I had our first InstaMeet, and it inspired many photo adventures here in Angola.” Hotel Panorama, a decaying hotel with mesmerizing views of the city and sea, is also among Flávio’s favorite photo locations. Although his photos capture scenes of destruction, they also bring the past back to life, in hopes that these places and objects may be valued again.

Marrying Art and Craft with Vintage Machinery To see more...

Thu, 08/06/2015 - 19:02

Marrying Art and Craft with Vintage Machinery

To see more explorations of art and fabrication, follow @craftmethod on Instagram.

Brian Alfonsi (@craftmethod) started collecting and restoring vintage belt-driven machinery six years ago, but he only recently quit his decade-long career making concept cars for General Motors to give his hobby his full attention.

From his shop on the outskirts of Detroit, Brian now meticulously fabricates parts for automobiles, airplanes, motorcycles and bicycles. “I serve a clientele that desires quality over quantity,” he explains.

It’s the artistry inherent in hand fabrication that drew Brian to his trade. Inspired by the #machineart hashtag and a 1934 Museum of Modern Art (@themuseumofmodernart) exhibition that explored the unrecognized artistic applications of modern machinery, Brian says he seeks to “expose the beauty in machine-made objects.”

Electric Feel: From the Studio to the Stage with DJ and Producer...

Thu, 08/06/2015 - 16:16

Electric Feel: From the Studio to the Stage with DJ and Producer Kid Koala

To see more of Eric’s studio and stage work, check out @realkidkoala on Instagram. For more music stories, head to Instagram @music.

Is your recently purchased Roland Jupiter-8 synthesizer in need of love? Then perhaps you should give DJ, producer and electronic matchmaker Eric San, aka Kid Koala (@realkidkoala), a ring at his studio in Montreal.

“It’s like I have a dating service,” says Eric, about all of the randomly paired musical equipment he keeps in stock. “It’s like, this pedal sucks on just about everything except this OMNI port. It’s almost to the point where, OK, these two things are married, let’s just duct tape them together because there’s no way I want to hear those apart.”

Eric is always digging for new gear — amps, guitars, synths, pedals – mixing and matching new and old gadgets, trying to figure out which ones mesh with each other. He admits his current set up could never function as a professional studio — though it’s hard to believe him considering all of the projects he’s had a hand in.

Eric has been performing live for more than two decades. Best known for his turntable and production work with Gorillaz and Deltron 3030, he’s also written a graphic novel, designed album covers, released solo material, composed short films and created his own experimental and immersive audio projects. Mostly, he’s big on taking a standard format and flipping it on its head. That’s why he started DJ’ing in the first place — it’s an art form where you’re allowed to sample, scratch, mix and create sounds off of an already existing work.

“I was drawn to the turntable when I was 12,” he says. “It seemed to have such a wide range. That’s what was exciting to me: actually, yeah we can use it as a rhythmic adrenaline-inducing thing; we can cut funky.”

For his latest trick, Eric has embarked on an expansive stage production based in Nufonia Must Fall, a graphic novel he released back in 2003 about a robot that’s trying to write love songs but can’t sing. The project is ambitious to say the least: a reproduction performed live with puppets, filmed, then projected onto a movie screen. There are 12 people on stage throughout the performance, including a string quartet, a team of puppeteers, a camera operator, a video engineer, a sound engineer and Eric himself, who plays “a plethora of weird gizmos.”

“I have been doing gigs for 20 years now and this by far is the most dangerous show for me because so many things can go wrong; there are so many moving parts to it,” says Eric. Still, he considers the risk exhilarating: “It’s the most high-tech / low-tech show you’ve ever seen.”

For the production, he’s teamed with designer K.K. Barrett, best known for his work in films such as Her, Lost in Translation and Being John Malkovich. Eric admits his career has been full of pinch-me moments, but getting to work with K.K. ranks toward the top.

“He came to my show in Los Angeles and I met him after the gig,” he says. “A mutual friend said, ‘You two should work on a project together.’ I was like, Oh wow, what could that be?”

Eric eventually sent K.K. a copy of Nufonia. He always considered the book to be a screenplay to a silent movie. K.K. liked what he read, so the two began brainstorming ideas for a full stage show. Now they’re in the process of touring across the world. (The premiere, in Australia earlier this year, opened to favorable reviews.)

If one massive audio project weren’t enough, Eric is also workshopping something called “Satellite,” a concert series where everyone in the audience is seated at their own turntable, where they play records that have their own custom sounds and inflections.

Just like Nufonia, Satellite is about taking something already established and flipping it on its head. Because what fun is there in showing an audience something they’ve seen a million times in the past?

“In my mind, I haven’t strayed from that core motivation,” says Eric. “When I started scratching, if I were to go to a battle, whatever you do on those turntables that night, it would have had to been something that you hadn’t heard … If you gave me an hour to play records I probably wouldn’t just play one tempo the whole time. I am not that kind of DJ. I like the storytelling aspect of it and see if we can go on a little bit of an audio adventure.”

– Instagram @music

Contemporary Korean-Style Home Cooking with @sso_yang To see...

Thu, 08/06/2015 - 13:56

Contemporary Korean-Style Home Cooking with @sso_yang

To see more photos of Soyeon’s contemporary Korean-style cooking, follow @sso_yang on Instagram.

This interview was conducted in Korean.

Traditionally served up in a brass bowl or thick stone pot, Korean cuisine gets an artful, contemporary makeover in the kitchen of Soyeon Kim (@sso_yang). When the interior designer from Seoul, South Korea, started collecting modern tableware crafted by her favorite designers, so grew her own appetite for cooking, styling and photographing food. “I like taking photos because I can enjoy my plates, preparing meals, table settings and food pictures all at the same time,” she says.

Soyeon typically fills her tabletop with nourishing noodles or a colorful mix of rice and vegetables, neatly arranged in her favorite plates and bowls. “Korean food takes a lot of care and time to make,” she says, noting that many items, such as kimchi, must be fermented. Lovingly prepared ingredients combined with one of three basic sauces — gochujang (red pepper paste), doenjang (soybean paste) and ganjang (soy sauce) — imbue Korean fare with its deep signature flavor, says Soyeon. “These are the key ingredients. Without them, Korean food just wouldn’t be delicious.”

Celebrating Breastfeeding and Raising Daredevils with...

Wed, 08/05/2015 - 19:20

Celebrating Breastfeeding and Raising Daredevils with @motherofthewild

For more photos celebrating breastfeeding and the beauty of motherhood, follow @motherofthewild on Instagram.

After 1-year-old Dread took a bad fall, mom Laurel Creager (@motherofthewild) soothed him in a way only she could — by nursing. “My husband actually thinks of breastfeeding like a magic wand,” she says. “Breastfeeding has changed me as a person. [It] has given me so much respect for the female body.”

Laurel, who is a drummer, seamstress and self-described “tech nerd,” would call both her kids daredevils. “The wild” is Laurel’s nickname for Dread’s 4-year-old sister Vera, who recently decorated her own hair with clothes hangers and once moved their living room furniture in order to jump from tables to chairs. Their family also has four hermit crabs, two dogs, two rats and a guinea pig, meaning Laurel never runs out of adorable material for pictures. But documenting her family’s life is more than entertainment. Laurel’s mom passed away shortly after Vera was born, and didn’t leave behind many personal photos. “I feel like I am leaving a footprint,” Laurel says. “Like my children will never have to question how much they meant to me or what activities we did together. They are my world, and the unconditional love I receive from them is so beautiful.”

This post is celebrating World Breastfeeding Week 2015.

Breaking the Barrier with Music Photography Pro...

Wed, 08/05/2015 - 17:04

Breaking the Barrier with Music Photography Pro @ericryananderson

To see more of Eric’s photography, check out @ericryananderson on Instagram. For more music stories, head to Instagram @music.

For anyone who’s been through the unforgivable churn of the New York City arts scene, photographer Eric Ryan Anderson’s (@ericryananderson) tale will sound familiar. At one point he was living in a windowless studio in Brooklyn, making zero money and taking whatever assistants jobs he could find. Having a late start didn’t make things any easier. After graduating from Texas A&M, he went on to work in finance for a few years before ditching the tie, moving to the Big Apple and volunteering in as many places as possible.

“Since I was late to the game, patience wasn’t a strong suit,” recalls Eric, “so I quit assisting after a year and just started taking any photography job that would pay me a few bucks.”

Soon after, Eric was getting steady gigs, eventually climbing his way up the creative ladder. Today, he is known for photographing some of the biggest musicians in the world, from Questlove to Jenny Lewis to Florence Welch. His portfolio isn’t just an example of how far he’s come since his New York days, but from his time growing up in suburban Texas, where he was surrounded by shopping malls and chain restaurants.

“My first actual photography memory was on family vacation,” says Eric. “We were at Wal-Mart, and my folks bought me this little point-and-shoot with a great zoom and several rolls of black-and-white film. We visited a ghost town and I shot like three rolls. I think I still have that stuff somewhere buried back home. I thought I was a regular Ansel Adams at the time.”

Eric maintained a working interest in photography throughout high school, and was a big fan of music as well, though not necessarily the artists you’d expect from someone who grew up in Texas. He leaned more toward Kenny Loggins and Chicago, not Stevie Ray Vaughan and Willie Nelson.

Today, music still plays an important part in his life — both in the songs he listens to and the approach he takes to working and collaborating with the musicians and other stars he shoots.

“Sometimes it can feel a bit like a transaction, but really all I’m searching for is that one moment where someone lets their guard down,” he says. “Celebrities are so used to being photographed today, and I never walk into a shoot expecting them to see me as anything more than a technician and a checklist in their daily routine. What’s great is when you can break that barrier and engage ever so slightly, reveal a bit about your intentions and learn a bit about their expectations. If you can get just below that surface level, you’re much more likely to come away with something interesting.”

– Instagram @music

@anushree_fadnavis Rides with the Ladies on Mumbai’s City...

Wed, 08/05/2015 - 14:04

@anushree_fadnavis Rides with the Ladies on Mumbai’s City Trains

To see more of Anushree’s images of daily life in Mumbai, follow @anushree_fadnavis on Instagram.

Amid the megacity bustle of Mumbai’s commuter trains, Indian photojournalist Anushree Fadnavis (@anushree_fadnavis) finds an oasis of sisterhood. Known as “ladies compartments,” the gender-segregated train cars provide a refuge from the crush of rush-hour crowds and create a second home, on wheels, for the women of the city.

Passing the time together on the train, “women knit sweaters from start to finish. They peel and chop vegetables so that by the time they get home they are ready to cook,” says Anushree. “Some women change in the ladies compartment. Most, including myself, do their makeup while the train is running. And if you want to shop, then there are people who do business in the compartment, too, right from selling vegetables to accessories to clothes.” Anushree captures all this and more in her “Train Diaries” photo series, a subset of her many images documenting life in Mumbai.

“In this day-to-day travel, many relationships are forged,” says Anushree, adding that even the Hijras — transgender and transsexual women, who often move among the trains asking for money — are usually welcome. “I have laughed, cried, thrown a fist in anger at the crowd, yelled, danced (yes, women dance too in those small places), sang and lived almost all the emotions for a lifetime in here.”

Salome MC, Iran’s First Female Rapper, on Breaking New Ground...

Tue, 08/04/2015 - 21:30

Salome MC, Iran’s First Female Rapper, on Breaking New Ground and Keeping Home in Her Heart

To see more of Salome’s photos from her travels, check out @salomemcee on Instagram. For more music stories, head to Instagram @music.

Salome MC (@salomemcee) was living in Iran and leading a double life. During the day she went to school and had a part-time job. But after hours, she would retreat into her artistic cocoon where she wrote rhymes and rapped. Doing anything outwardly creative in the country is considered risky – the government bristles at the provocative and dangerous. Salome was therefore confined to the shadows, forced to share her work with a small group of collaborators and fans.

“For a long time I really didn’t tell a lot of people,” says the 31-year-old emcee about her music. “I had this whole life with my rapper friends.”

At the time, Iran’s hip-hop scene was non-existent, restricted to Salome and her crew. Today, they’re considered pioneers – the first ever Iranian rappers. But they never set out to make history or change the musical landscape of their country. They were, simply put, just fans of a genre, looking to express their art in new and exciting ways.

“We wanted to see how Persian language worked on [hip-hop],” says Salome. “But we weren’t really thinking it was going to be that [popular] though. We were just people who liked doing it and put it online. Then it really took off. I think people, young people especially, were really thirsty for it. Obviously there was a lot of music in Iran – pop music, traditional music, folk music – but the language we had in hip-hop was a little bit more raw and urban and I think the youth really wanted that.”

Salome first heard rap in 1995. The song was by a Turkish immigrant group from Germany. Soon after, she expanded into the American rap scene, listening to Tupac, Notorious B.I.G. and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, among others. By then, she was already attempting to write rhymes on her own.

A common misconception about Middle Eastern rappers is that they have to rap about geopolitical conflict in their region. Salome opts for something more, though, choosing instead to focus on issues that are less defined by borders than by species and customs. A lot of that comes from her upbringing. The daughter of two journalists, Salome moved around a lot as a kid, making her feel less attached to lands than particular individuals and cultures.

“I try to show that each country everywhere, people have the same concerns, the same life. I address that a lot,” she says. “Because I traveled a lot, it’s so easy once you get out of that box to see that. People think they are so different – they have this completely different culture, religion and language. It’s easy to demonize them.”

That’s why Salome brings a bit of history with her wherever she goes. Though she currently lives in Japan – she moved there in 2010 on a scholarship – she always makes time for her favorite tea (lemon balm herb) and some kefir cheese (“It’s so good for health”), all the while plotting her next creative project. In addition to her work as a rapper, she is also a video artist, making her own music videos and additional experimental projects.

But the music is what drives her – and as a pioneer and early adopter of hip-hop in her home country, she wants to get her songs out to the people who need them. For Salome carries the additional charge of being known as Iran’s first female emcee, a title she initially avoided: it was nothing more than a label, and didn’t speak to the quality of her work nor the types of things she was interested in. However, she eventually changed her tune.

“For a long time I resisted it, but then I embraced it,” she says. “Right now, no one is really writing down what’s happening. I didn’t want that story to go away because people forget so easily, so I kind of started to use [the label] too.”

But being the first doesn’t always mean being the best. Things move fast. New generations come in and take up the ground broken by previous ones. And while Salome may have much more to accomplish as an artist, she knows how far she’s come and how much she’s already achieved.

“It’s funny because Iranian hip-hop is so young, it’s like 10, 12, 15 years old tops. But already we are the old-school ones.”

Instagram @music

Finding Friends in Fiction, by @huntingforbooks For more...

Tue, 08/04/2015 - 19:12

Finding Friends in Fiction, by @huntingforbooks

For more visions from Chantelle’s reading world, follow @huntingforbooks on Instagram.

“#Hellomynameis Chantelle (@huntingforbooks) and I’m 15 years old. I’ve lived in the UK for the majority of my life, but I’m not British — I’m Chinese. I love reading books, as you’ve probably guessed. With my account, I can talk to people about things that I can’t talk about with my friends, because they often haven’t read the same books as me, or aren’t readers themselves.

I started reading when I was about five years old and it’s become something that defines me as a person. My favorite thing about reading is connecting with characters, and being able to explore another world. If you met me, you might think I am a shy person, but I’m actually quite loud and probably annoying sometimes. I think I’m a kind person, too. I’m still young, so I have a while to decide what I want to be.”

Editor’s note: At the request of this young artist, Instagram is only using her first name.

Fulfilling Extreme Passions with @nenavonflow_ To see more of...

Tue, 08/04/2015 - 13:58

Fulfilling Extreme Passions with @nenavonflow_

To see more of Nena’s tattoos, fashions and family life in northwestern Spain, follow @nenavonflow_ on Instagram.

(This interview was conducted in Spanish.)

Nena Fidalgo López (@nenavonflow_) thinks of herself as a queen of extremes — passionate about tattoos, “out-of-the-flock” fashion and her young family in near equal measure. Her affections show through in clear, cuddly portraits of her husband and young son alongside skin-friendly selfies showcasing her customized clothing designs and her favorite tattoos. “I could walk naked, but not without tattoos,” says the 35-year-old entrepreneur from Galicia, Spain.

But when it comes to defining her priorities, Nena doesn’t hesitate: “My family is the first and most important thing in my life. They are my everyday, my absolute happiness. My son … ufff! I can’t even express with words what it’s meant to bring him to the world,” she says before adding, “In a way, he is making us better human beings.”

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPimperfections Weekend Hashtag...

Mon, 08/03/2015 - 20:28

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPimperfections

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 #WHPimperfections, which asked participants to photograph imperfections in their surroundings to show how mistakes and flaws can in fact be photographed in a beautiful way. Every Monday we feature some of our favorite submissions from the project, but be sure to check out the rest here.

Erasing Borders with @kimbadawi To see more of Kim’s...

Mon, 08/03/2015 - 14:17

Erasing Borders with @kimbadawi

To see more of Kim’s photographs, follow @kimbadawi on Instagram. For more stories from Brazil, check out @instagrambrasil.

As a teenager, Kim Badawi (@kimbadawi) ran away from his loving home in Paris to find adventure on the road. Hoping to escape the impending dullness of adulthood, Kim slept on virgin beaches and even shared a trailer with Andalusian circus clowns. Then in his late 20s, he found himself suffering at a traditional desk job, again searching for an out — a way to explore his curiosity about the world. It was then that Kim discovered photography as a way to meet people he would otherwise not approach. “Photography is an excuse to put myself into certain situations, for better or worse,” says Kim. “The more open you are to being vulnerable, the more your subjects do the same. I really love people, so all I feel I’m doing at times is pointing a lens at the appropriate moment between us.” Now based in Brazil, the 34-year-old photojournalist travels the world documenting cultures in regions as far flung as Georgia and Egypt. Holding no less than four different passports, the self-described “cultural mutt” always feels at home. “I don’t see borders between people, because after all, we are all from the same planet,” says Kim. “Borders don’t define where a culture ends or where family begins, and photography is a unifying language for those who share this sensibility.”

Healing Loss Through Photography with @markosian To see more...

Sun, 08/02/2015 - 19:00

Healing Loss Through Photography with @markosian

To see more of Diana’s photography, follow @markosian on Instagram.

Diana Markosian’s (@markosian) images confront the haunted human condition of those who have experienced the numbing effects of loss. The 26-year-old photographer has focused her lens on the survivors of traumatic and sensitive historical events — the Beslan school massacre, the Chechen wars and the 1915 Armenian genocide — and documented her own reconciliation with her long lost father.

“I was seven when I was taken away from him,” Diana says. “The year was 1996.” Fleeing a desperate situation in Russia with the collapse of the Soviet Union, Diana’s mother looked to California in search of a better life. “She decided to move us to Santa Barbara, based on the American soap opera, which we watched in our tiny apartment in Moscow,” says Diana. “She woke me up and told me to pack my belongings,” says Diana.

Fifteen years later, when she and her father were reunited, Diana says she felt numb and out of place. “There he was. A stranger,” she recalls. “He didn’t recognize me, and I didn’t recognize him either.” Diana longed to know him better, so she moved in with him six months later. “We began to take images of each other. It was a way for us to create new memories without the past intruding,” she says. “The collaboration became a turning point in the way I approach my photography.”

‘This is All I Know’: London’s Jay Prince...

Sun, 08/02/2015 - 16:43

‘This is All I Know’: London’s Jay Prince Wants to Show You Something New

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

Rapper Jay Prince (@loungeinparis) is East London through and through. He was raised here, has family here, got an education here. But his music is far from the grime-inflected tracks the city prides itself on. In truth, it’s more in tune with a stateside sound — his production and flow marked by a New York-heavy rhythm filled with soulful horns, electric pianos and a direct, syncopated flow.

“I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I get that quite a lot,” says Jay, about being compared to US hip-hop. “I understand why — I have had a lot of American influences. I didn’t grow up on UK hip-hop heavily … I listened to grime when I was a kid, but I was like 50-50. I liked a lot of Lil Jon, Jay Z, Kanye, Common, Mos Def, some R&B and neo-soul.”

While his musical influences may be easily traceable, less so are his visual cues, which he shares in the way of portraits and city photos from his travels at home and abroad. Jay has spent time crafting a look and image through his photography — including the pictures he takes and the ones his friends take of him. Still, he admits to experimenting with his style, continually searching for one that fits.

“I am still trying to find it out myself,” he says. “Usually I am about a dark tone. It depends a lot on where I live. London is not always sunny, so you have to use the light that you have. Whereas when I went to Barcelona, it was so bright.”

Though music is Jay’s primary passion, photography plays an important role in his life as well. His goal is to combine both areas into a diverse, creative portfolio. That’s why he devotes time getting better at each — writing rhymes, making beats, investing in cameras. For the pictures, Jay began developing his skills while on tour in the States, where he connected with some photographers. They began to meet up in different cities to take each other’s portrait.

As for the music, Jay started rapping when he was 14. While East London has a rough-and-tumble reputation, he managed to side-step most of it by focusing on hip-hop. And though he wasn’t involved in drugs or gangs, he was certainly aware of what was going on.

“I had friends who were kind of involved and would have fights and stuff,” he says. “Growing up in East London, it was fun at first — you try to understand yourself a little more, you try to build friendships. As I got older, it was bad — people started getting hurt. I started questioning a lot of things. And you have to kind of look out for yourself and be careful. It was about watching your back.”

Instead of putting his energy into the streets, Jay would put it into his music. He had a voice and he wanted to use it. (As he says in his track “1993” off his EP, BeFor Our Time, “This is all I know.”) And it all came from the opportunity given to him by his parents, who immigrated to the UK from Africa before Jay was born.

“I remember my mom always taught me, ‘When we came here, we gave you an opportunity.’ And I never understood. Like, I was born here. I wasn’t born in Africa. What type of opportunity?” he says. “As I got older I started realizing and appreciating it. If it’s really true that there is an opportunity here, then I am going to test it. That’s when I got into music. And I was like, I love this. And I know I got that opportunity because of my parents. It was for me to build myself and have my own platform to build my own future and build my own career. And now I am a musician. I have worked and built my own world.”

—Instagram @music

The Week on Instagram | 194 News Esquire: 10 Sportsmen You...

Sun, 08/02/2015 - 14:00

The Week on Instagram | 194


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#**Searching for Beauty in Dance Music and Industrial L.A. with...

Sat, 08/01/2015 - 20:03

#**Searching for Beauty in Dance Music and Industrial L.A. with Young Adults Co-Founder @deepbody**

To see more of David’s deconstruction photos, check out @deepbody on Instagram. For more music stories, head to Instagram @music.

David Fisher (@deepbody) is a man with many responsibilities. He’s a father to a 20-month-old daughter named Hazel; president of Astro Tools, a Los Angeles-based automotive company his grandfather started four decades ago; and co-founder of the dance-music label Young Adults, which he runs with his high school friend Leeor Brown.

“Young Adults captured the spirit of what we were going after — growing older while still trying to be young,” David says of the label, the name of which also doubles as the moniker for his and Leeor’s DJ duo (as a performer, he goes by “Deep Body,” a phrase he coined for the music he likes, as well as a play on his first and middle names, David and Benjamin).

The underlying current of David’s pursuits, from Young Adults and DJing to his photography of sparse Los Angeles locales, is a search for something deeper and taking time to appreciate things that are barely there. “It originally came out of a love for graffiti and street art, then the deconstruction of that or looking for decay,” he says. “It’s like a scavenger hunt for me now. I like finding odd little cuts and crevices and back alleys and seeing what kind of hidden treasures are going on in there.”

David usually finds time to take his pictures during lunch breaks. It started with him exploring areas around his work. Some days, he would take a different route just to see if there was something he hadn’t yet stumbled across. One recent detour took him to two straw-hatted garden figures next to a piece of plywood and a hose hanging from a small tree, a site he now drives by every day. “It’s part of a little apartment community,” he says. “There are all these little odd and quirky nuances of the neighborhood. There’s a lot of warehouses and a lot of houses tucked between them, so you get this weird intersection of humanity and industry. That’s kind of what I’m grappling with at my day job.”

Quirky encounters aside, David’s photos reflect his curiosity to look past facades. As a radio DJ at University of California, Berkeley, he was into underground hip-hop and early electronic-rock hybrids like Four Tet, before he grew to appreciate the subtleties of dance music. “I don’t think it’s for everyone, but I also hope that if you’re able to kind of dig one level deeper, it might reveal some stuff. It doesn’t look like much at first glance but maybe just a little extra focus might bring out some nuance that shows the subtleties of whatever the composition is capturing.”

That’s part of David’s concerted effort to not get sucked into the “quick scroll-through” multimedia world. “Today’s culture feels like everything has to hit you right off the bat. Most people, when they listen to new music flip through the track, like, ‘Am I going to like this?’ You want to get more snippets of what it’s about instead of just listening from beginning to end and seeing how it develops. Nothing lasts, you know? It feels like everything is just temporary now.”

Not one to rush, David is looking forward to another album later this year for Young Adults, with few concrete plans for the label’s future. “I find the more I try to make things happen, it feels forced,” he says. “Part of the beauty of Young Adults is allowing it to take its own time and develop in a natural state instead of feeling like I have to be tied to a release schedule or a certain style of music. I’m excited to see where it goes. I have a lot of hope that it’ll keep growing and the reach will keep expanding, but I also don’t want it to be something that I try to make happen, instead of it happening because of the product and the sounds we’re putting out.”

—Dan Reilly for Instagram @music

Finding a Daily Creative Practice with @elleluna and...

Sat, 08/01/2015 - 18:58

Finding a Daily Creative Practice with @elleluna and #the100dayproject

To see more of Elle Luna’s paintings of her dreams, follow @elleluna on Instagram. To discover more about the 100-Day Project, check out #the100dayproject.

For 100 consecutive days between April and July, @elleluna painted her dreams. Simultaneously, @kingcholo drew faces of Texan strangers on the insides of matchbooks. @katrinamchugh layered song lyrics over natural science diagrams, while @thejellyologist mixed up daily flavor experiments like coconut water and lavender into exquisite little jelly molds. What connects them all, and the more than 270,000 images posted to the hashtag #the100dayproject, is the challenge to participate in 100 days of making, initiated by San Francisco–based author and artist Elle Luna. Inspired by an assignment given to design students at the Yale School of Art, “the 100-Day Project is not about fetishizing finished products,” says Elle. “It’s about celebrating the process.” Elle believes the great gift of the practice comes through surrender: “You show up day after day, even when you’re tired or sick or on vacation,” she says. True to the spirit of creating versus finalizing, the 100-Day Project didn’t exactly end on July 14, the original date Elle set for completion. “What’s amazing is that there are people who are just now discovering the project and beginning their own journey, while others have decided to continue their projects beyond Day 100,” says Elle. In the words of one inspired participant, “These 100 days have been like rocket fuel and I am ready to launch.”

Moving Fashion Forward with @lionheaded To see more of...

Sat, 08/01/2015 - 14:03

Moving Fashion Forward with @lionheaded

To see more of Raffael’s in-vogue adventures, follow @lionheaded on Instagram.

(This interview was conducted in German.)

In secondary school, it was Dr. Martens working-class, rebel-punk boots, and later on, the severe silhouettes of Helmut Lang that made Raffael Payr’s (@lionheaded) heart beat faster. Today, the Viennese fashion lover says he has found his calling with his lifestyle and fashion blog, The Lionheaded.

“I love the feeling of being on the cutting edge — to stand up front, like a train driver, and witness everything first hand,” says Raffael, who counts traveling, shopping and posing as his job duties. With his wife Marion (@ladyvenom) acting as the photographer on most productions, Raffael feels comfortable expressing himself freely in front of the camera. “At times, I have the best ideas shortly before shooting,” says Raffael. “My plan is to not have a plan.”

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPimperfections Weekend Hashtag...

Fri, 07/31/2015 - 19:11

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPimperfections

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 imperfections in your surroundings to show how mistakes and flaws can in fact be photographed in a beautiful way. Some tips to get you started:

  • Wrinkles in aging skin, colorful spills and stains, crooked walls and peeling paint are all imperfections that can add special charm and character to an image if looked at from a new perspective.
  • Look for the messy parts of a scene you might otherwise leave out of a picture and make them the focus of your frame.
  • Explore the imperfections of your photographs themselves — embracing blurriness, skewed lines and other technical factors you might ordinarily attempt to fix.

PROJECT RULES: Please add the #WHPimperfections 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.

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

Fri, 07/31/2015 - 16:44

Instagram @music’s Monthly Hashtag Project: #MHPmusicmuse

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 #MHPmusicmuse, which asked participants to make portraits of people in their life who inspire them musically, taking inspiration from guest curator Rambo (@rambo). We selected some of our favorite submissions from the project, but be sure to check out the rest here.