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 along with this month’s project, #MHPmusicmood on @music.
The goal this month is to make creative images and videos that capture the mood of a particular song or genre. The project takes inspiration from guest curator Caleb Zahm (@calebzahm), a 19-year-old photographer based in Chicago who says that music both keeps him focused and inspires him in the editing process.
“To me, photo and music are very similar in the sense that they are both expressing emotion or telling a story of some kind,” says Caleb. “This photo is in an abandoned school in Gary, Indiana, and reminds me of the song ‘Back to School’ by the artist Bones. His music videos give off an eerie feeling and this was a classroom that was just left to rot away.”
Some tips to get you started:
PROJECT RULES: Please add the #MHPmusicmood hashtag only to photos and videos taken this month and only submit your own. If you include music in your video submissions, please only use music to which you own the rights. Any tagged image or video taken this month is eligible to be featured.
To see more of Takeshi’s daily sketches, follow @takeshiterayama on Instagram.
(This interview was conducted in Japanese.)
“When your job is to create lots of drawings on a daily basis, you almost never get yourself to practice drawing again,” says freelance illustrator Takeshi Terayama (@takeshiterayama), who is based in Fukuoka, Japan. Inspired by a fellow illustrator friend who manages to keep up with his sketches every day, Takeshi started to get into the habit of making daily drawings using a croquis book and a black dermatograph pencil. Sharing his work on Instagram has also helped make the habit stick. Every evening between dinner and bedtime, Takeshi spends anywhere from five minutes to two hours drawing motifs that come to his mind. “I don’t have any specific theme,” he explains, “but it’s boring to draw models and images that are already art-directed by someone else.” While many of his subjects come from his personal photos and scenes from documentary films, he admits that his baby son is the best model — especially when he’s out of ideas. “I plan to continue my drawings for a while, because I want to find out where this will lead me.”
Although he is fully committed as an illustrator, Takeshi likes to work his creativity in another hobby he is passionate about, which is cooking. “I wanted to become a chef when I was little,” he says, adding, “I’ve been cooking since I was in first grade, and my experience with cooking is actually longer than my career as an illustrator.” He likes to be in the kitchen so much, that he even shares his cooking photos and recipes online. “If you want to know how much I love cooking, I’d say that my mind is full of recipe ideas all the time — from when I’m taking a bath to those moments when I get in bed and think about things until I doze off into sleep.”
At Sugar House Creamery (@sugarhousecreamery), a tiny dairy farm tucked in New York’s Adirondack Mountains, it’s all about the Brown Swiss cows. They’re hardy. They’re docile. They turn the farm’s tough grass into well-balanced milk perfectly suited for cheese-making. “And they’re not too hard on the eyeballs,” says Alex Eaton, who, with Margot Brooks, founded Sugar House in December 2013.
The farm produces just three types of cheese, which Alex says ensures consistency and extremely high quality. But the small size of their operation also allows for experimentation, which Margot can trace back to her childhood on a dairy farm, making batches of chèvre on the kitchen stovetop from the milk of her pet goats.
Alex and Margot’s photos and videos capture the essence of life in the New York countryside — except for the smells. “The grassy, vegetal smell of warm summer milk being strained into the bulk tank. The smell of the cheese cave: beer and pine boards and yeast and earth. So many smells,” says Alex. “Some bad, but mostly good.”
Last year, Alison Mosshart (@amosshart) was looking for inspiration. Captivated by skid marks on asphalt, the lead singer of The Kills was determined to recreate them in her artwork. Her first idea was super rock and roll: drive her baby, a Dodge Challenger, through paint and over a ream of canvas, thus uniting her two loves of muscle cars and art. Unfortunately, it also would ruin her ride, so she nixed it. The second was rolling a spare tire around manually, a much easier idea to execute in her Nashville home studio. Then she realized without weight on the tire, she couldn’t get skid marks.
Which is how she found herself in a Toys R Us late at night, inspecting the treads and wheels on remote control cars like a fifth-grader composing a Christmas list.
“I got a bunch of monster trucks and went home. I turned into this madwoman driving a car around the studio, laughing to myself like, ‘This is the most fun ever!’” she says, while sitting in a booth at Los Angeles’ Café 101 and chewing on the straw in her iced tea. The finished tire paintings comprise much of her upcoming gallery show in New York.
Though Alison has been burning up stages alongside Jamie Hince in The Kills for over a decade, and Jack White in The Dead Weather since 2009 she’s been drawing since she was a little girl in Florida. Her mom, a high school art teacher, discovered she could plop Alison down with a packet of magic markers and keep her content for hours.
“I’ve been doing [music and art] forever — they feel like the same thing,” she says. “Painting and drawing is a part of waiting. I’ve been on the road touring since I was like, 14. Twenty-two years straight — so all my artwork is suitcase-sized.”
Until recently, her artwork was most prominently displayed in her mom’s attic. But when she bought her house in Tennessee, she designated a big room with lots of windows the “complete crazy chaos music and art room.” When friends visited and saw her paintings strewn on the floor, they told her she should start posting them. Within a week, she was offered her first gallery show in New York.
“I could not believe it,” she says. “This is insane. I just posted pictures of paintings!” She’s a prodigious poster, much to the delight of her fans, and even shares the stuff she hates.
“If I don’t like a painting, I’ll paint over it. My mom liked one I thought was so awful,” she says, pointing to a recent piece. “I posted it, still hated it. Painted over it and posted that and she was like, ‘Bring the other thing back!’ It’s too late, Mom. I hated it anyway!”
Her modesty is charming, but it’s not exactly a surprise that the art world, just like the music industry, has been receptive to her work. The inspiration for both comes from the same place. “The same feeling that makes me want to paint something is the same feeling that makes me want to write a song,” she explains.
With painting, “everything is really fast. Fast, fast,” she says, as opposed to her work in The Kills. “It’s a pretty long process with me and Jamie because there’s just two of us. Everybody has to do everything. It’s a lot of work,” she says.
That duality and state of flux play out in her drawings, too, many of which contain two or three or 23 faces, an eye bugging out here, a tongue sticking out there, as if different parts of Alison are fighting for the final say by way of brushstroke. “I can’t stop painting faces. That’s all that comes out,” she says. “There’s a lot of changing of the mind going on. That’s why things always have like three eyeballs.”
The one change she’s not so comfortable with is the lack of a place to retreat at her exhibit openings. “I’m quiet,” she says. That’s true in the literal sense — she speaks in such a gentle tone the diner’s lunchtime din nearly drowns out her voice. But her music, and now her art, is quite the opposite.
And with that, Alison drains her tea, smiles politely and ducks out the front door. Safe bet she left at least one set of tire tracks in her wake.
––Rebecca Haithcoat for Instagram @music
To see more of Ibrahim’s photos, follow @ibrsoul on Instagram.
For Ibrahim Hammada (@ibrsoul), hands have unique powers of expression. “I used to hold my mother’s hands tightly when I felt anxious, and that always helped me relax,” says Ibrahim, a Syrian doctor who now lives in Koblenz, Germany. “Growing up, I realized that the power of our hands is not limited to touch but has something visual, too.” Ibrahim has always been drawn to art and architecture and he began the #StoriesInMyHands project as a way to do what he loves in his spare time. “When it is difficult for me to find words to express, my photos can do the job.”
Ibrahim’s photos are the result of looking at the world with a twist. “The objects of my photos are around me all the time,” he says. “I just need to think about them differently to come up with new photos.”
His project is a challenge that he happily accepts. “My plan is to keep doing this as long as I have hands, heart and mind.”
To see more of Felix’s photos, head over to @felixskinner on Instagram.
On a Saturday night this past spring, screeching dissonant guitars and a clashing, heavy-handed beat could be heard filling a dark bar in downtown Oakland. If one were to have peaked their head in, they would have been surprised to find the noise coming from just two people: drummer Ignat Frege (@hand_model) and multi-instrumentalist Felix Skinner (@felixskinner).
The two make up Wreck and Reference, a metal band from Los Angeles that defies most of the traditional trappings of metal bands. There is no guitar on stage, no bassist. Only two musicians, one of who, Felix, elicits piercing, guttural screams into the microphone while striking the pads on an electronic sampler strapped around his neck.
“It was clear early on that the possibilities that it provided were limitless, that it would allow us to run with any mad idea we had,” says Felix, 28, about his use of a tool more closely aligned with electronic and hip-hop music than metal. “We’re typically drawn to sounds that aren’t traceable, that require a bit of wrangling and warping to make just right.”
Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Felix began taking guitar lessons at the age of 10. But he was more intrigued in going against the grain with his music than submitting to any prescribed notion of what things were supposed to sound like. He refused to practice the Dave Matthews Band songs his teacher asked him to memorize.
“I was more interested in the strange sounds I could create by hitting the parts of the guitar I was told not to, using my pick to scrape instead of pluck,” he says. “In retrospect, it’s clear this was just a way for me to cope with the fact that my fingers never did what I wanted them to.”
The harsh, unforgiving tones that would eventually make up the sounds of Wreck and Reference go hand-in-hand with the photos Felix likes to take: haunting, captionless images tinted black and gray and red. But when it comes to writing music, it’s more about sensations than images for him, creating songs about unsettling feelings. It’s about tapping into an emotion, no matter if the sound that comes out fits into someone’s built-up perception of a musical genre.
“We’re just as averse to being a ‘synth band’ or an ‘electronic band’ as we are to being a ‘guitar band,’” he says. “As soon as we find ourselves in a box like that we’re overcome by the urge to kick our way out.”
Photos of Drifting in Daylight, a dreamy pathway of art installed by the nonprofit public art organization Creative Time (@creativetimenyc) in New York City are the focus of this week’s #whereartthou. “The beauty of the park is that you can feel like you are completely lost at times, but you’ll still end up where you want to go,” says Cara Starke, director of exhibitions. “We wanted to create an exhibition that would celebrate this vision.” The works – which include Spencer Finch’s sunset-colored soft serve ice cream; Ragnar Kjartansson’s S.S. Hangover, floating along the Harlem Meer; and Alicia Framis’ Cartas al Cielo, an invitation to send a postcard to the sky – are on view from noon to 6 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays until June 20.
The exhibition is designed to be just as accessible for someone who accidentally stumbles upon one artwork as it is for someone who has time to spend wandering from one to the next. “At its core, Drifting in Daylight is about celebrating the park,” Cara says, “and discovering the incredible landscapes, gardens, woods and bodies of water that Frederick Law Olmsted designed, and the histories embedded in them.”
For more from Rowan, follow @rowanblanchard on Instagram.
“#Hellomynameis Rowan Blanchard (@rowanblanchard). I am a 13-year-old student, actress, activist and aspiring writer. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, even though my heart belongs to New York City. Acting is something I have adored since I can remember — I started when I was five, which led to booking my show Girl Meets World in 2013. Acting gives me a better understanding of humans, and makes me far less judgmental of people, because I can see the world through their eyes.
I am not shy to speak my mind on anything, and I encourage my fans to be the same. I want teens my age to know that they have a voice and it should not be silenced. I have been lucky enough to grow up around people who have let me use my voice to speak up about things I see. There is not an age requirement on when to start changing the world.
Education is something that’s extremely important to me. Unfortunately, many kids who are actors don’t value school, but my biggest hope is to go to the Columbia School of Journalism and then Oxford University. Besides being on Broadway and baking a perfect apple pie, it is on the top of all my dream boards.
Acting has given me confidence and strength in my voice, which led to working with HeForShe through social media. I teach my followers about gender inequality and how we can change it. I use Instagram to share things that I genuinely care about, whether it be the Armenian genocide or my dog getting scared of the rain. I hope that my pictures inspire anyone of any age to understand the value of their voices.”
For more ‘Blade Runner’ details in the world, follow @bladerunnerreality on Instagram.
“I am personally interested in random places that have the ‘Blade Runner’ feel,” says Ryan Allen, a PhD student from New York, who co-created the account @bladerunnerreality to post pictures of places that are aesthetically similar to Ridley Scott’s cult film.
“We realized we had a lot of photos of a certain kind of architecture or lighting which evoked flashbacks of ‘Blade Runner.’ We both loved the look so we got pretty excited about finding more of it in New York pretty quickly,” adds the other creator, Siddharth Chander, who now works in education in Washington, D.C.
They are also fascinated by the craft shown in the film. “The future isn’t clean, like so many other movies depict. It’s just this one little detail that builds this very real-feeling world,” says Ryan. Siddharth adds, “Yes, I think the detail is really inspiring. That kind of thinking resulted in one of the most beautiful films ever. You’d like to see that sort of creativity encouraged more often.”
Both Ryan and Siddharth share their own images of ‘Blade Runner’-inspired sightings, and also curate submissions of original pictures on the account. “For instance, we recently had one from Kazakhstan, which I don’t think is a place that immediately evokes a futuristic look,” says Ryan. Siddharth adds, “The best part of this whole thing was that right from the beginning we were contacted by a few people from Europe and South America who just loved it.
“We aren’t telling a story, each photo sort of tells a different story and then the next day it’s something new entirely,” says Siddharth.
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 #WHPholdstill, which asked participants to take creative videos while holding their camera completely still in order to capture the motion in a set frame. Every Monday we feature some of our favorite submissions from the project, but be sure to check out the rest here.
To see more of Carl’s highline views, follow @carlmarrs on Instagram.
“It’s like, ‘Yeah I’m out here balancing on a one-inch-wide [2.5 cm] band of nylon fibers above a great drop, and I feel really good about it. Yeah, I like this. This is good.’” Welcome to the inner-dialogue of Carl Marrs (@carlmarrs), a 23-year-old climber and highliner from Seattle. Highlining is slacklinging – walking on webbing that is fixed to two anchors – but at elevation. “I think it’s cool that as human beings our mind has the power to transform a situation from something dangerous into something exhilarating,” Carl says. But before ever becoming attracted to the adrenaline of great heights, Carl was inspired by the photographs of climbers and highliners he admired.
Carl started climbing with high school friends in 2010 and later discovered a passion for slacklining during a trip with to Yosemite, the site where some believe slacklining was invented. “I’ve slacklined as much as possible since then and don’t see any signs of slowing down,” he says. Through slacklining, Carl has found more than just an athletic challenge with amazing views. He has found belonging in a vibrant community. “The times I’ve spent at highline festivals surrounded by the tribe are the best of my life,” Carl says.
While Carl enjoys being out on the ropes with fellow athletes as well as sharing his photographs with a diverse community, he also values the meditative and solitary feeling he gets out in the wilderness. “The best moments come when I’m out in the middle of a highline, comfortably balancing, feeling a light breeze blow by and hearing nothing but the calls of swooping birds echoing through the canyons hundreds of feet below me.”
“I love certain tones, like whites and browns and reds and oranges. But the most important thing is lighting,” says 23-year-old film composer Eric von Fricken (@ericchristian).
Eric, who’s based in Boston, began playing piano at the age of four. However, he only got into taking photos recently, thanks to a good friend who’s a professional photographer. Now Eric approaches his pictures the same way he writes his music: through an outside eye, with a willingness to revise and revisit his work.
“It’s easy to get pulled in when you’re creating or you’re taking a photo,” he says. “But to be able to step back and look at it like it was from somebody else, I use that a lot with music and photography. You write and rewrite. Maybe the melody should be a French horn or maybe it should be a cello. There’s no right or wrong answer to photography or music, it’s just which route do you want to go.”
For more imaginative character studies from Joey, follow @joeyellis on Instagram.
For Joey Ellis (@joeyellis), drawing is a study of relationships. “You can’t treat your younger sister the way you treat your grandma. They are at totally different stages of life. Drawing characters is similar,” says the Charlotte, North Carolina-based illustrator. Joey’s work is filled with bold, off-the-wall personality — from dragons in business suits to robot musicians.
“I love creating things that look one way, then different when you see them in a whole different world,” he says. “Things that are out of context, being used by someone else out in the wild. To me, that’s very gratifying.”
While experimenting with mismatched environments is important to his character work, the thing that weaves all of Joey’s projects together is something more simple: fun.
“I think everyone has the same problems. Everybody carries around heavy, sad things throughout their life — everybody — and it’s possible to handle it in a positive and silly way,” he says. “Life is short.”
Around the Community
To see more photos from photojournalist Guy Martin, follow @mrguymartin on Instagram.
Photojournalist Guy Martin (@mrguymartin) won’t exactly say what he’s doing in a mountain village in Bulgaria photographing ceremonial outdoor wedding beds. He professes, however: “Those pictures and the real reason behind those images will become clear at the end of the year—believe me, those beds are just the beginning!”
Creating a sense of playful intrigue through the images on his feed is par for the course for Guy. Raised in the southwest of England but based in Istanbul, Guy moves fluidly between long-term personal projects and editorial assignments for major publications. One week he’s in Turkey continuing his on-going series on the rowdy world of Turkish soap operas and the next he’s road tripping across Ukraine for a magazine story. In either case, Guy’s unique visual interpretation of the world around him is a constant. “For me, successful documentary photography has to come from a very personal, subjective place. I try, as much as is possible to weave my personal experience into every single picture I take. Otherwise, what’s the point?”
Guy’s path to professional photography wasn’t a straight line. He actually used to be a semi-professional bodyboarder. But since his teen years the calling of photography was strong. “I think from about 17 or 18, I knew that my attention was being diverted into the world of social engaged photography, images and visual storytelling,” he says. Coming into adulthood during the early years of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan only pushed him further to his calling. “I was too young to cover them professionally, but those wars, and events from the Middle East greatly shaped my outlook and engagement with the world.”
The first time Adrian Portia (@adrian_portia) laid eyes on a handpan drum was in an online video in 2008. He fell in love with it immediately. The instrument, designed by a Swiss couple from Bern, Switzerland, was less than a decade old then. It was a bit like an inverted steel pan, except instead of mallets it was played with a person’s bare palms.
Unfortunately for Adrian, a trained drummer and percussionist who grew up outside Melbourne, Australia, getting one would take more than his checkbook. The handpan –– or as it was called at the time, the hang –– was made from steel and hand-tuned with a hammer. Creating one was an intricate, time-consuming process, and the chances of owning one himself were slim. The only way was to write a handwritten letter to the Swiss couple, who were then the only makers of the handpan. If they accepted you (a big if, considering the number of letters they received), you would fly over to Switzerland, pay for it and come home.
“I was kind of deterred at the time,” says Adrian, who, at the age of 10, was taught how to play the drums by his musician father. “But it was always in my mind. I always knew that I was going to play this instrument, I just didn’t know when.”
Still, the length of time to get one could be torturous. But Adrian was persistent – and lucky. One morning, he awoke at five and went onto the website of a music store he had visited in Long Beach, California.
“I don’t know why but something just told me to go on and check it out,” recalls Adrian. “He had four instruments up for a flash sale. And three of the instruments he wasn’t really happy with the quality so he had a discounted price. But one was a good quality instrument. And I just went, boom, buy now.”
Adrian soon began playing the handpan and recording the results. Over the last two years, he has become known for his unique percussive style, performing grooves and melodies at the same time. Each of his videos shows a close-up on the drum, with his hands skipping across the surface like pebbles on water.
“A lot of players just come along and belt them. The thing is, if you strike it too hard you detune the instrument quite quickly, because it is hand-hammered,” he says, adding, “For me it was a little bit easier to adapt. But it’s been a constant learning curve.”
Adrian has been proud to impart his evolving handpan knowledge onto younger musicians, giving lessons and making it the driving force behind his upcoming solo album. Unlike the guitar or the piano, the handpan is still in its infant stages. Adrian, along with the community of handpan players from around the world, has the chance to shape how it’s seen and heard by future generations.
“We’re making the history of this instrument right now,” he says. “It’s quite a magical instrument.”
–– Instagram @music
To see more of Rui’s graphical black-and-white photos, follow @__darkwhite__ on Instagram.
Just over a year ago Rui Veiga (@__darkwhite__) picked up photography as a hobby and has since developed his own visual voice, focusing on silhouettes, contrasts and graphic shapes. “I like taking pictures in black-and-white because it travels through time and adds a touch of supernatural,” says Rui, who lives in Lausanne, Switzerland. “It is a style that allows me to go straight to what inspires me.” Most of his images are precisely planned and he often uses friends as his subjects, although sometimes he waits for pedestrians to naturally appear in the right spot.
Here are some of Rui’s tips for shooting high contrast photos:
Camera: Canon 7D, iPhone 6
Vantage Point: “To start with, look for lines, shadows, perspectives or light sources in geometrical forms and place your subject on it.”
Shooting: “Think of your composition and use the rule of thirds, so that your photos have more impact.”
Post-Production: “In post-production I use Lightroom to create the black and the white, correct the perspectives, refocus and reframe.” In Photoshop, Rui retouches more precisely – strengthening shadows and deleting or modifying elements, if desired. “I use Snapseed on my smartphone to finalize my photos before posting them on Instagram.”
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 take creative videos where you hold your camera completely still in order to capture the motion in a set frame. Some tips to get you started:
PROJECT RULES: Please add the #WHPholdstill hashtag only to videos taken over this weekend and only submit your own videos 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 morning.
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 #MHPlive, which asked participants to create images of a live musical performance. Guest curator Sacha Lecca (@sachalecca) selected some of his favorite submissions from the project, but be sure to check out the rest here.
To see more of Phil’s food hats, follow @chiliphilly on Instagram.
When Phil Ferguson (@chiliphilly) isn’t serving up tasty burgers at Tuck Shop Take Away in Melbourne, Australia, he’s crocheting hats that look like pizza slices, plates of spaghetti and eggplants. “I started watching the TV show RuPaul’s Drag Race and got a real appreciation for drag,” says Phil, who began the project as an experiment. “I was thinking of different sorts of hats that I could create a character with.” His creative process is simple and never takes more than a day. “I think of a food first, then get appropriately colored wool and go from there,” he says. “I don’t plan or sketch, I just do. I usually sit there for hours on end just so I can finish one hat in a sitting.”
Phil taught himself how to crochet from watching online videos. His first piece, a full-head cowl, was an experiment that turned into a larger project. “I tried a potted plant next, then a burger,” he says. “After seeing how popular the burger was, I kept looking to food for inspiration.”
For Phil, each piece has its own sentimental value. “Always in the back of my mind I thought I could make them an extension of me.”