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The Work of Music Fan, Photographer and Philadelphia Native...

Wed, 09/09/2015 - 16:36

The Work of Music Fan, Photographer and Philadelphia Native Colin Kerrigan

To explore more of Colin’s work, check out @colinkerrigan on Instagram. For more music stories, head to @music.

Colin Kerrigan’s (@colinkerrigan) professional life recently came full circle when he found himself standing in a room shooting indie rock outfit Ra Ra Riot for Out of Town Films (@outoftownfilms), a music production company he runs with his two friends. Several years earlier, the Philadelphia-based photographer had conducted his first musician interview, with a few members from the band for his music blog.

“We had this thing where we would ask a few serious questions and then, like, ‘What’s your top five favorite songs you wish you wrote?’” recalls Colin. “It was really silly. I was nervous. I remember doing the interview and being like, wow, that was so cool. It was technically the first show I ever photographed too — Ra Ra Riot opening for Andrew Bird.”

Today, Colin is lucky enough to make a living as a photojournalist and web producer for But back in the early days, when all he had was his personal website, finding a publicist willing to give him a press pass could be taxing.

“I bought my first real camera and I literally would send emails upon emails to publicists and managers,” he says. “At first I would have to explain, ‘Oh, I am a Temple University journalism student. I love music, I love photography. Can I interview so and so and can I get a press pass to a concert?’”

The idea to start a blog initially came from a college professor, who had a simple but declarative piece of advice: Why wait until you graduate to be a journalist? Colin had been into music since he was young, devouring biographies on bands like Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones. His mom had even taken him to see Prince and David Bowie perform in the seventh grade. For him, documenting musicians was a natural fit.

Now 26, Colin’s ultimate goal is continue to find ways to devote his time and energy toward music.

“I am definitely a fan first and foremost,” he says. “I appreciate that I get to make cool things with the artist, even though they probably don’t know I’m in the photo pit.”

—Instagram @music

Story Collecting with @adrianazehbrauskas To see more of...

Wed, 09/09/2015 - 16:05

Story Collecting with @adrianazehbrauskas

To see more of Adriana’s photographs, follow @adrianazehbrauskas on Instagram.

Congratulations to Adriana Zehbrauskas (@adrianazehbrauskas), who is the recipient of an inaugural Getty Images Instagram Grant. As a journalism student, Adriana found that pictures, not words, were the most compelling way for her to tell stories. “Photography is my way of saying, ‘Look here, this is happening. Don’t turn around, don’t go away,’” she says. From her current base in Mexico she strives to give a voice to individuals who otherwise might not be heard. Her winning project focuses on a group of missing students from a rural teachers college in the Mexican state of Guerrero — 43 men who disappeared almost a year ago.

Many of the families are “still in the dark, fighting on their own, striving to get by among the grief and looking for answers to what happened to their sons, fathers, brothers and husbands.” Yet, even when documenting human suffering, Adriana wants people to feel hopeful and to realize they are not alone. “We are all connected and we are all entitled to dignity and beauty,” she says.

Folding Poetry with Origami Engineer @gridpaper To see more of...

Tue, 09/08/2015 - 22:05

Folding Poetry with Origami Engineer @gridpaper

To see more of Robby’s origami creations, follow @gridpaper on Instagram.

Data structures, crease patterns and computational poetry: such are the passions of Robby Kraft (@gridpaper), a math-obsessed, self-described “origami engineer” who lives minimally and pays the bills by writing code for smartphone apps and video games. A section of his studio in Portland, Oregon, is devoted to experimental concoctions of binding glue, handmade paper, gift-wrapping tissue and aluminum foil, allowing him to create materials of precise thickness and texture for specific shapes and designs. As he explains, “The paper matters so much! If the paper’s wrong, the origami’s wrong.” (Also important: “good spatial perception and experience.”) Robby’s geometric creations are shared in occasional gallery exhibitions and in online paper-folding communities, but he admits, “most of the time, they make a big pile on my desks.”

Defeating Heartbreak with Nicole Bonasoro’s 100-Day Song Lyric...

Tue, 09/08/2015 - 16:05

Defeating Heartbreak with Nicole Bonasoro’s 100-Day Song Lyric Designs

To explore more of Nicole’s story, check out @nicolebonasoro on Instagram. For more music stories, head to @music.

It took three and a half years to build Nicole Bonasoro’s (@nicolebonasoro) relationship, but only one day for it to vanish.

“We were living together, and it came out of the blue,” the 29-year-old graphic designer says about her last breakup. “I just hit rock bottom.”

Instead of wallowing in despair, the creative put her mind to work and found solace in a challenge, proving to herself and the world that something great could come from heartbreak. For 100 consecutive days, Nicole would freehand draw a fun and playful design of one inspiring song lyric. Biggie Smalls’ words came to life in bright blue and pink. Nicki Minaj’s ode to love was reimagined in the form of a pizza slice and the moon over Nicole’s home of New York City dared the world with Janet Jackson’s message of “No Sleeep.”

“There was still a part of me that wanted to dwell, and I was like, OK, you know what? I really need to hold strong,” she says. “That was kind of a turning point.”

The series as a whole plays out like a diary of pictures. Distracted by the daily grind and bolstered by praise, featured lyrics began to reflect her brightening spirits, and so too did her choice of medium. She made Pharrell’s “Happy” with Nerds candy. She put a pen cap on a Sriracha bottle and drew Talib Kweli’s “Hot Thing.”

“It was just really an incredible experience for me, because the more I did it, [the more] I was experimenting,“ she says. Some days though were tougher than others. “I’m a perfectionist,” adds Nicole. “There’s a time to stop, but sometimes it’s hard. You’re not there yet, but you’re like, OK, I need to put it up anyways. I got sick sometimes. I was staying up too late, and then I had to go to the doctor. It was crazy, but it was worth it.”

For Nicole, not giving up was the key. On the last of her 100-day challenge, she honored that dedication with a quote from Atmosphere’s “Lovelife”: “Remember it all / the beauty as well as the flaws.”

And then it was over, 100 days had come and gone. Suddenly, in an ironic twist on the dark feelings that spawned the project, she couldn’t let go.

“I’m the type of person that I can’t take days off, because then I missed it,” she says. “I was like, I’ve got to do something. I went to Boston this past weekend, and I did [a lyric] on the place coming back. I’m always working on something. Always.”

Today, Nicole’s 100-day series is a full-on side hustle. She sells her designs as prints, pillows and shirts at local fairs in New York, and has more orders for a soon-to-launch online store. She keeps all her original designs in a scrapbook, and one day, she hopes to compile them all into a portfolio to be passed around and given to prospective clients.

“I feel like the stars aligned for me during this whole process,” she says. “I just feel like everything happens for a reason now, and it’s crazy to get a great response from people. I know this is what I should be doing, and I’m just doing it. That’s it.”

—Kat Bein for Instagram @music

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPrhythm Weekend Hashtag Project is...

Mon, 09/07/2015 - 22:39

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPrhythm

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 #WHPrhythm, which asked participants to make photos and videos that illustrate a sense of rhythm by capturing dynamic displays of movement and sound around them. Every Monday we feature some of our favorite submissions from the project, but be sure to check out the rest here.

For more opportunities to be featured, check out Instagram @music’s monthly hashtag project, #MHPrhythm, which will be calling for creative photos and videos of movement all month with special challenge prompts each week.

#todayimet with @isr4el and @jose_bodyboard The theme of the...

Mon, 09/07/2015 - 15:56

#todayimet with @isr4el and @jose_bodyboard

The theme of the October 3-4 #WWIM12 will be to share #todayimet portraits of the people you meet, asking them for their favorite Instagram accounts so you can include them in your caption with the #whoifollow hashtag.

(This interview was conducted in Spanish.)

Israel González (@isr4el) lives 185 miles (300 kilometers) from Lanzarote, one of the Spanish Canary Islands west of Africa, but he wasn’t motivated to visit until he discovered José de la Rosa’s (@jose_bodyboard) pictures on Instagram. Israel, a business administration student from Gran Canaria island, connected with José, who works in the local hotel industry, so he could capture some photos of his own.

“José became my local guide, taking me to places he knew I would like because they would match my style, encouraging me along the way to take as many pictures as possible,” says Israel, who’s also been active organizing or taking part in different InstaMeets across the islands. “People here are always ready to meet more people, because on these islands everyone is incredibly social,” he adds.

The list of José’s followers knows no boundaries. One of his local favorites is @candyperfumegirl_, but he also likes to follow Instagrammers from far away, such as @la_mayte in Mexico or @surfistatomato in Australia.

@juancamiloberlin: Colors, Contrasts and Aesthetic...

Sun, 09/06/2015 - 21:59

@juancamiloberlin: Colors, Contrasts and Aesthetic Coincidences

To see more of the world through Juan-Camilo’s lens, follow @juancamiloberlin on Instagram.

(This interview was conducted in German.)

For Juan-Camilo Roa (@juancamiloberlin), it’s all about finding photogenic moments in the daily grind. Whether it’s specifically aligned shopping carts, people passing an interesting backdrop at just the right time, crutches leaning on the door of an abandoned building or a colorful selection of fruits — Juan-Camilo, who was born and raised in Colombia, captures these “aesthetic coincidences” and offers a candid and refreshing view of his adopted home, Berlin. “My photography reflects the fact that we are almost constantly surrounded by the extraordinary but often overlook it,” says Juan-Camilo, who hopes that his images will inspire people to look at the environment more consciously.

The Week on Instagram | 199 News teenVOGUE: My Life Kylie...

Sun, 09/06/2015 - 18:12

The Week on Instagram | 199


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Rapper Andy Mineo Wants to Make You Uncomfortable To explore...

Sun, 09/06/2015 - 16:56

Rapper Andy Mineo Wants to Make You Uncomfortable

To explore more of Andy’s story, check out @andymineo and @uncomfortable_album on Instagram. For more music stories, head to @music.

“Comfort be the thing that’ll make a king fall.” In the Bible, that king was David, a great warrior who opted to stay home and let others fight in one of his battles, which lead to David getting a married woman pregnant and having her husband killed. Though rapper Andy Mineo’s (@andymineo) new album Uncomfortable isn’t quite the life-or-death scenario of biblical times, his tale has a similar message: Comfort leads to complacency, which leads to downfall.

“I was on tour and the name came to me,” says the Syracuse, New York-bred Christian rapper, about the title of his forthcoming record. “I started realizing comfort can rob you of your ambition and deep hunger. So as I was trying to manage the success of being a successful artist, I felt myself slipping away or falling into the traps of comfort that make you more of a selfish person.”

Andy’s new record hits discomfort from all angles. First, there’s the subject matter, like the track, “Hear My Heart,” where he apologizes and confronts the fact that he never took the time to learn sign language for his older sister, Grace, who was born deaf. (The song has been in the making for a couple years now, and Andy has since started taking lessons.) Then there’s the actual album cover, which features the emcee’s faced pressed up against a piece of glass. That idea came during a stopover in California with his record label’s art director, who happened to have a small photo scanner with him at the time.

“He had some concepts that he had been working, so we put the scanner out and jumped off the bed and I started smushing my face in there,” says Andy. “We were like, there’s too much light. So we ripped off the back, went under the covers and were just taking hundreds of pictures.” The picture they ended up choosing was one of the first ones they snapped. “We looked at each other like, ‘That’s it!’” says Andy. “We had just one of those, ahhhh. Because it’s almost so simple that it was like, nah this can’t be it. But it was it.”

The cover itself has inspired fans to share their own versions of it (see: #thiscomfort). Overall, it fits in nicely with the narrative Andy has been presenting through @uncomfortable_album, an account dedicated specifically to the making and, most importantly, message of his record.

“There is all this discomfort,” says Andy, once again reflecting one the moment the album’s title came to him. “I was like, I can either dismiss it with bravado and act like it’s not there, or embrace it, and see what that can result in. And it’s created this journey on this album for me to invite people into discomfort and say if we embrace it maybe there is something we can get from it.”

—Instagram @music

On the Road with Music Photographer Grizzlee Martin To see more...

Sat, 09/05/2015 - 16:47

On the Road with Music Photographer Grizzlee Martin

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

Before photographer Chris Lee Martin, better known as Grizzlee (@grizzleemartin), toured with bands like Sleeping With Sirens, even before he started taking pictures, he was a touring musician himself.

“I was in a few different bands,” he says. “But it kind of transitioned. Through the years, there were a lot of things that happened — some ups and downs, and I ended up taking a break from music.”

By then, Grizzlee was working at a screen printing company. That’s where he noticed his co-workers taking photos. Wanting to join in on the fun, he sold his guitar amp, bought his first DSLR and started shooting local concerts. “I put a website up, and then a few months in, people started contacting me saying, ‘Hey, what do you charge for this?’” says Grizzlee. “And I was like, ‘Wait, I can make money from this?’”

Eventually, he found himself back on tour, this time, armed with a camera instead of a guitar. In many ways, Grizzlee lives the life of an ultimate fan. He spends day after day following Sleeping With Sirens, one of his favorite bands. He stands in the front row at concerts and sings along to some of his favorite songs. Of course, he learns about the band because he lives on their tour bus. And when he sings along, he’s taking hundreds of stunning photos instead of waving his iPhone’s flashlight back and forth. “It’s a cool and fun experience, because you get to travel around and see different sights,” he says. “But it can be difficult at times, just because it’s a lot more work than a lot of people think. It’s basically like being in a summer camp, where you’re in a cabin with a bunch of people, except it’s a moving cabin. There’s twelve people on a bus together, so you have to be able to get along with everybody.”

For Grizzlee, getting along also means finding a way to make the artists feel relaxed.

“I get to not only hang out with bands that are some of my favorite artists, but I also consider some of them my best friends as well,” explains Grizzlee, who has also photographed Paramore and the Vans Warped Tour. “You’ve got to be able to be chill and make sure that you’re kind of like, from a photographer’s perspective, a fly on the wall, but you’ve also gotta be buddies with the band. Otherwise, they’re not going to be comfortable and they’re not going to be able to give you what you need to get photo-wise.”

While it might be the natural fan response to become starstruck when meeting a favorite musician, Grizzlee says it’s important to treat them like regular people. “You’ve just gotta realize that these people are just people that are producing music, even if it’s some of your favorite music,” he says. “If you treat them like people, they’re gonna respect that.”

—Instagram @music

Capturing Intimate Moments of Celebrities With Greg Williams To...

Sat, 09/05/2015 - 16:06

Capturing Intimate Moments of Celebrities With Greg Williams

To see more intimate moments with celebrities, follow @gregwilliamsphotography on Instagram.

In the midst of Hollywood glitz, British photographer Greg Williams (@gregwilliamsphotography) captures intimate moments with celebrities. His series #artofbehindthescenes includes Charlize Theron losing Sean Penn on the red carpet and the stars of the upcoming American adventure film “Everest” riding an unexpected wave en route to this year’s Venice Film Festival. “What I call ‘happy accidents’ often give the pictures that extra flair,” the 43-year-old says. “I’d gotten the three guys to come to the back of the boat for a picture, and as I was shooting, a huge boat went by and caused a massive wave. It was like we were gonna go over! It just created this wonderful drama and energy.” And yet, the near-capsized boat pales in comparison to the risks Greg took on his first assignment as a photographer: at 19, he had to be smuggled into Myanmar to take pictures of guerrillas fighting in the country’s civil war. “I have that sensitivity to genuine human emotion,” he says. “My empathy is probably a bigger asset than my eye.”

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPrhythm Weekend Hashtag Project is...

Fri, 09/04/2015 - 22:17

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPrhythm

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 photos and videos that illustrate a sense of rhythm by capturing displays of movement and sound. The project takes inspiration from Instagram @music’s monthly hashtag project, #MHPrhythm, which will be calling for creative photos and videos of movement all month. Here’s how to get started:

  • Look for rhythms with repeating sounds or patterns of movement, like the beat of a marching band or the back and forth of a busy urban scene.
  • Try shooting your photos and videos from a distance to show the movement of your subject throughout a wider scene.
  • Keep an eye and ear out for natural rhythms in your environment, like ocean waves or a branch blowing in the wind.

Use both the #WHPrhythm and #MHPrhythm hashtags this weekend and #MHPrhythm the rest of the month for more opportunities to be featured.

PROJECT RULES: Please add the #WHPrhythm hashtag only to photos and videos taken over this weekend and only submit your own visuals to the project. If you include music in your video submissions, please only use music to which you own the rights. Any tagged video taken over the weekend is eligible to be featured Monday.

Chasing Sandstorms at Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse To sample more...

Fri, 09/04/2015 - 15:59

Chasing Sandstorms at Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse

To sample more sand and sea, explore the Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse location page. For more photos from Thomas, follow @thomasnoerremark on Instagram.

On a spontaneous and windy road trip to the Danish west coast, Thomas Nørremark (@thomasnoerremark) stopped to try to shoot the dramatic seascape against the eroding coastline. “The sand was blowing in the air and the cloud formations were amazing,” he recalls. “You could see all the small holes in the clouds from the sun making light spots on the ocean. I stayed for 30 minutes or so before I had to go back to the car due to the heavy sand blowing in the wind.” Thomas’ photo captures the Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse on the Jutland peninsula, first lit in 1900 but abandoned in the ‘60s due to sand drift. It is expected the lighthouse will collapse into the sea in as few as 10 years. “There are so many great locations around Denmark,” says Thomas, who lives in the city of Aarhus on Jutland’s east coast. “People often travel far from home, hoping to get the right shot. I do it too from time to time, and must remind myself that there are often great hidden locations nearby. All it takes is trying to explore the unknown.”

He encourages people to look around themselves for inspiration. “Most people see the target, the destination, but not all the great things that happen on their way there. It could be the way the light falls, a shadow, a sign on a wall, people passing by,” he says.

Ideating Mysterious Portraits with @thomgregory For more...

Thu, 09/03/2015 - 22:05

Ideating Mysterious Portraits with @thomgregory

For more nostalgic, mysterious portraits, follow @thomgregory on Instagram.

(This interview was conducted in Spanish.)

José Juan Hernández Loza (@thomgregory), has a constant whirlwind of ideas running through his head. The 23-year-old farmer, who lives in San Julián, Jalisco, in western Mexico, writes them all in a notepad before going to bed or talks about them when he is having dinner with his family (he has 10 siblings).

Much of his imagination is focused on people. “I have a passion for portraits because I want to capture that moment when you can show how beautiful a person is,” says José Juan, who often uses fruit or other objects as a veil in front of his portraits. “I really like to cover the faces because I love the mystery. I like when people see my photos and wonder what’s the meaning behind them.”

José Juan hopes that through his images people will see that in photographs, as in life, there are no limits. “When you do what you like, you are happy. All your dreams can come true if you work for them.”

Love, Yoga and Singing Lead with Songwriter Raquel Sofia To see...

Thu, 09/03/2015 - 16:25

Love, Yoga and Singing Lead with Songwriter Raquel Sofia

To see more of Raquel Sofia’s videos and photos, check out @raquelsofia on Instagram. For more music stories, head to @music.

And now, a short, musical fairytale…

A guitar-wielding, jazz-obsessed Puerto Rican teenager attends an acclaimed music college in the United States, becomes a backup singer for Shakira and Juanes, then steps out of the shadows to release her own songs and debut album, gaining a small but devoted group of fans in the process. This is the story of Raquel Sofia (@raquelsofia), a Miami-based singer-songwriter with a love of music and yoga. Experience and success aside though, she is still finding the whole emerging rock star thing a bit surreal.

“I hate using the word fans because I still can’t believe it,” she says. “That’s the craziest part, when you hear people singing your songs. The other day, a producer from Mexico sent me a text: ‘I am working on this new artist’s album and I asked her what her reference album is, and she said, Raquel Sofia’s album, she’s my favorite artist.’ Like, hearing stuff like that, I can’t believe it. I just love that people are connecting.”

Finding that personal connection is imperative for a new artist, particularly when their first album deals with a topic as complicated and toxic as love — and Raquel’s record, Te Quiero los Domingos (I Love You on Sundays) explores it in spades, from the happy and cheesy puppy-dog love, to the love filled with anger and pain.

“It’s a super bipolar album,” she says. “I just think we talk about the same thing a lot, and love is so complicated with so many dimensions and so many different colors. I just want to talk about the different sides of it.”

On Te Quiero, those sides are punctuated with a mix of rock and jazz harmonies and reverbed drums. But the record’s personal nature has also inspired Raquel to spend time performing stripped down portions of tracks around town with her guitar. Laid bare, they feel even more intimate.

“I did little snippets of songs because, to me, it’s super important for people to realize I am a songwriter,” she says. “I wrote these songs, they are about my life, I can play them. They are super personal. So I wanted to do those snippets while walking on the streets.”

To build a following you have to get personal. And though Raquel has a fan base now, she knows there’s still more room to grow, more places to see and more fans to reach. But she’s ready for it. Even when she was singing backup for Shakira, she was preparing for a moment like this.

“In my head I never stopped being a frontperson,” she says. “I was still focused on writing my own songs, still writing my own music, which would eventually lead me to getting signed and opening up. I was still very much focused on my career. Those gigs [with Shakira and Juanes were] amazing gigs, and you travel and you’re with a great team, and you could easily stop to think, OK, I will stop here, this is great. But I just always knew I wanted to be songwriting and doing my own stuff.”

—Instagram @music

Only Bollards with @saintbollard For more of Andrew Choate’s...

Thu, 09/03/2015 - 16:01

Only Bollards with @saintbollard

For more of Andrew Choate’s photos, follow @saintbollard on Instagram.

Bollards are stumpy concrete posts meant to prevent cars from driving into buildings or walkways. They are not typically described as cute or clever, funny or sneaky — or really as anything at all. But when Andrew Choate (@saintbollard) moved from South Carolina to Southern California, bollards became his muse. “I was attracted to their variety, and how neatly they lent themselves to formal composition,” says Andrew, who teaches creative writing at juvenile detention centers and uses his ripe imagination to articulate the purpose of his project. “Looking at the bollards as a kind of aesthetic and comic relief provides a way to see without hiding, a way to look that appreciates reality for what it is.”

Appreciating the Weirdness with @hickduarte For more...

Wed, 09/02/2015 - 22:28

Appreciating the Weirdness with @hickduarte

For more imperfect — yet beautiful — moments, follow @hickduarte on Instagram.

After getting his start photographing rock concerts in São Paulo, Brazil, 24-year-old Hick Duarte (@hickduarte) felt a kinship with the city’s nightlife and youth culture. He says, “My inspirations are clean scenarios, natural light, authentic people and weird situations.” The photographer also wants to explore “times of life he has not yet lived.” With “Old Souls,” Hick’s first exhibition, he combined seniors and landscapes. “It came from the habit of spending hours observing how people behave on the streets, the way that they deal with the repetition of their daily movements and the way they dress in real moments,” he explains. But, many of his pictures tell stories about the “city of contrasts” that is São Paulo, with its urban decay, renowned art museum and beautiful buildings, like the curved 38-story Copan. “I like symmetry and geometric organization of elements, but also appreciate the humanity of compositions, the natural imperfections.”

#petsoundz: TOKiMONSTA and Her Rhodes-Loving Cat, Misha To see...

Wed, 09/02/2015 - 16:28

#petsoundz: TOKiMONSTA and Her Rhodes-Loving Cat, Misha

To see more of TOKiMONSTA and her cat Misha, check out @tokimonsta and @misha_the_cat on Instagram. For more music stories, head to @music.

Love comes when you least expect it. Just ask Los Angeles beat queen Jennifer Lee. Better known as TOKiMONSTA (@tokimonsta), she’s warmed her way into the hearts of experimental electronic and hip-hop fans with a string of killer albums, EPs and singles on taste-making label Brainfeeder. As for the love? That would be from Misha (@misha_the_cat), her adorable feline friend.

“I’m still not fond of cats,” she says, “I’m fond of my cat, but I think that’s what makes crazy cat ladies crazy. They really are pretty much only about their guys.”

Misha and TOKiMONSTA’s is a love affair as old as time. Girl meets cat, cat convinces girl not all felines just want to taste the milk, girl caves uncontrollably.

“Misha is sort of this plain gray cat that somehow manages to create his own personality,” she says. “He’s just sort of an anomaly in terms of behavior — not to say other cats don’t behave like him. I’m not trying to champion my cat above other cats — but he is really silly and tends to stand on his hind legs a lot. He’s always on his back for whatever reason. He’s very floppy. Even now, he’s sleeping very strangely next to me on my sofa. I don’t fully understand.”

TOKiMONSTA got Misha from a breeder about three years ago when he was only 14 weeks old. People often mistake Misha for a female because of the name’s girlish nature, but he’s actually named after a lovably haphazard promoter in St. Petersburg whom she could never forget.

“He was kind of goofy and messed up a lot of stuff,” she says. “I don’t think he fully knows why I named my cat after him, but it’s not really in a bad way. I found that kid really endearing and sweet and stuff.”

Misha the cat lives up to the namesake.

“He can be a little vindictive,” she says. “If I leave him home for a day, I’ll come home and he’ll just throw everything on the ground. He means well, and sometimes he definitely wants to make a point, but he’s really endearing and really goofy.”

When it’s time to saddle up in the studio, Misha likes to sit on top of the keyboard, and maybe get tangled in the cords. And though he hasn’t made it onto any of TOKiMONSTA’s records yet, he might soon.

“He’s in my sample library somewhere,” she says. “He tends to walk on [my Rhodes piano] a lot. For whatever reason with Rhodes, smashy sounds are jazzy by default. It’s a weird thing that happens … He will just be my muse, and I’ll dedicate a song to him. That’s a deep possibility. But that would also make me seem crazier.”

—Kat Bein for Instagram @music

Lebanon’s Beautiful Light, in All Its Seasons, with...

Wed, 09/02/2015 - 15:53

Lebanon’s Beautiful Light, in All Its Seasons, with @daliakhamissy

To see more of Dalia’s photographs, follow @daliakhamissy on Instagram.

A wedding dress hangs in a refugee tent. A mother lays out the denim jacket her son once wore — more than 20 years after he disappeared in a civil war. A kitten grows up in a tranquil Beirut apartment. And life goes on in the moments recorded by Dalia Khamissy (@daliakhamissy), a photographer who grew up through decades of conflict in the Middle East. She says, “I post the view from my balcony, which I love — especially with Lebanon’s beautiful light, in all its seasons.” In scenes across her country, Dalia shares a perspective that ranges from cosmopolitan luxury to the daily challenge of survival, as families flee across the border from neighboring Syria. “Despite the wars, blood and continuous human rights violations, people still laugh, smile, live and love. There is a lot of creativity, dignity and resilience.”

Why #iammorethan What You See, by @alittlepieceofinsane This...

Tue, 09/01/2015 - 21:55

Why #iammorethan What You See, by @alittlepieceofinsane

This week, @kyliejenner is celebrating inspiring young people like Renee who refuse to let being bullied define them. Explore the #iammorethan hashtag for more from the series, and follow @alittlepieceofinsane to hear more from Renee.

“#hellomynameis Renee DuShane (@alittlepieceofinsane), and I’m a college student from the Boston area. I was born with a rare genetic disorder known as Pfeiffer syndrome, which primarily affects the growth and formation of facial bones. I want people to know that, just like you, I’m not perfect. And that no one imperfection — like maybe how your face looks or how you talk — makes you any less of a person. There are days I feel absolutely sexy and beautiful. I don’t feel bad for myself and neither should anyone. I’d rather be friends with people than have their sympathy. The motto I live by is: stay strong and always love.

I wish I could say only positive things go on my Instagram, but that isn’t always true. I share happy moments, but sometimes I share moments of fear or vulnerability. When I was 18 years old, I posted the first photo of myself without my bangs and with no makeup on Tumblr. I talked about how ridiculous it was that I wasn’t considered beautiful by society’s standards. It went viral. I have worked hard to encourage others to love themselves through social media ever since.”