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#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.”

Introducing Improvements to Instagram Direct We launched...

Tue, 09/01/2015 - 18:00

Introducing Improvements to Instagram Direct

We launched Instagram Direct in 2013 as a way to share moments with one person or a smaller group. Now more than 85 million people use Direct every month to send inside jokes, family videos, photos from road trips and other moments meant only for a handful of people. Today we’re announcing improvements to Instagram Direct including threaded messages and sending content from your feed as a Direct message.

Threaded messages make it easier to go back and forth with the people you talk to the most. Instead of creating a new conversation every time you send a photo or video, your threads are based on the people in them — and your moments flow along naturally. We’ve also added the ability to name your groups, a quick camera feature to respond with a selfie on the fly, and larger-than-life emoji for when there are just no words.

Today’s updates also bring a brand new way to start conversations around what you see on Instagram. When you find something inspiring or funny, your first instinct is often to share it with friends who you know will appreciate it. Today, people do this by @-mentioning friends in comments, so much so that nearly 40% of comments include an @-mention. This update has made it easier to share content that you love.

Now, you’ll find an arrow next to the like and comment icons under every post. Tap it to send that post to a friend or group as a message using Instagram Direct. It will appear as part of your conversation, and you can tap the photo or video to see and like the original post. You can also send hashtag pages and location pages by tapping the arrow icon in the top right-hand corner.

Privacy works the same way as it always has on Instagram. Photos and videos sent using Direct are only visible to people who could already see them. If the owner of a photo or video has their account set to private, only people who follow their account will be able to see it if it’s sent as a message in Direct. And, as always, you own your photos and videos — today’s updates do not change that.

With these changes to Direct, it’s easier to connect around the things you love. We hope it helps bring the community closer together than ever.

To learn more about today’s updates to Instagram Direct, check out the Instagram Help Center.

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

Just Kismet: A Look Behind Petite Noir’s Intoxicating Album...

Tue, 09/01/2015 - 16:33

Just Kismet: A Look Behind Petite Noir’s Intoxicating Album Art

To see more of Yannick’s music and art, check out @petitenoirkvlt on Instagram. For more music stories, head to @music.

Every stone has its own characteristics. For instance, malachite, an emerald-green mineral found in parts of Africa and the Middle East, represents transformation. That made it an ideal beacon for musician Yannick Ilunga, aka Petite Noir (@petitenoirkvlt), and the artwork for his debut full-length album La Vie Est Belle / Life is Beautiful. Fashioned by his creative director and girlfriend Rochelle Nembhard (@dronegoddess), along with artist Lina Viktor (@linaviktor), the final image features Yannick floating in the air above a block of malachite against a marble background.

“The malachite is Yannick’s home stone from the Congo,” says Rochelle. “When we first met Lina, we gave her malachite and that kind of cemented our relationship. And because malachite is the stone of transformation, it just made its way into everything without us even thinking about it.”

The stone also signifies a turning passage for the South Africa-based musician, as he looks to release Life Is Beautiful, which features a new, layered direction.

“It’s all about the sound,” says Yannick, of his overall creative process. “Everything has its own vibe. I am pretty spontaneous.”

Rochelle and Yannick first met several years ago and began dating and collaborating almost immediately.

“I was in Johannesburg,” he says.

“And I was studying in Thailand,” adds Rochelle, “so we were long distance for five years. But we would use excuses to visit each other.”

They first started working on a blog called “The Capital of Cool,” before launching their own artists’ collective known as Drone Society. Meanwhile, Yannick was hard at work crafting his own unique sound, first on The King of Anxiety EP, and then Life is Beautiful.

Throughout the process, Rochelle would work on her own visual narrative to help complement Yannick’s music. For the new album, she decided to bring in artist Lina Viktor to help brainstorm ideas on the cover art.

“It was actually kind of fortuitous,” says Lina. “We started talking and she wanted to send me stuff that they were doing with Drone Society. And then we started having these creative, existentialist conversations that made us instantly friends and we bonded that way. And that quickly evolved into asking me to work on the album cover.”

In addition to the floating image, they also put together the single art for the track “Best.” The picture features Yannick painted in the multi-toned green hue of malachite. It was one of many experiences where the trio formed a special bond, leading them to continue working together after the album hits this month.

“It’s just very kismet,” says Lina of the relationship between her, Yannick and Rochelle. “We’re all just very aligned with each other creatively. It just made sense. We really vibed off of each other and the work we’ve been doing.”

—Instagram @music

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

Mon, 08/31/2015 - 23:56

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPmyoasis

Weekend Hashtag Project is a series featuring designated themes and hashtags chosen by Instagram’s Community Team. For a chance to be featured on the Instagram blog, follow @instagram and look for a post announcing the weekend’s project every Friday.

This weekend’s prompt was #WHPmyoasis, which asked participants to photograph the places where they go to escape, near or far from home. Every Monday we feature some of our favorite submissions from the project, but be sure to check out the rest here.

The Week on Instagram | 198 News Time: 4 Ways to Take...

Sun, 08/30/2015 - 20:52

The Week on Instagram | 198


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‘The Turn Up is Real’: The Art of the Stage Dive with Rapper Vic...

Sun, 08/30/2015 - 16:39

‘The Turn Up is Real’: The Art of the Stage Dive with Rapper Vic Mensa

To see more of Vic’s crowd surfing pics and videos, check out @vicmensa on Instagram. For more music stories, head to @music.

The horn is like a call to arms — a quick pulsing rhythm before the drumbeat drops and all hell breaks loose. People jump, mosh pits are formed and Vic Mensa (@vicmensa) once again goes flying off into the crowd.

“The first time I ever performed that song I knew exactly what it was,” says the 22-year-old rapper about his certified banger of a track, “U Mad.” “Now it’s pandemonium.”

Vic’s overall show takes more cues from rock concerts than rap gigs. That’s on purpose. About a year ago, he bought a collection of concert DVDs from Rage Against the Machine, Iggy Pop, Elvis Costello and others, as a source of inspiration. Really, though he’s been prepping for this moment since he was young. As a kid, Vic would play Guns N’ Roses riffs and jump off his parents’ couch pretending he was Slash. Now he wants to bring that same energy to his own live performances.

“The turn up is real,” he says. “I am trying to do something different from what everybody else in rap is doing — just have my music conveyed differently live. It’s not just beats playing. And a lot of rappers do rap over vocals. That’s not my show. I am trying to do something that’s way more alive and flowing and in the moment.”

And what’s more in the moment than diving into the middle of a raucous crowd? Vic first started stage diving when he was 17, after learning from a guy named Hollywood Hulk, at a local club in his hometown of Chicago. Hulk’s tips were short but sweet: make your target clear, prime the audience so they know you’re coming, then take off.

“It’s just spur of the moment,” says Vic. “It’s almost like the crowd and the stage and me and the band and whoever else is a part of it are all one and I am just jumping into whatever I’m inside of. It’s like one big energy.”

Still, jump into the crowd and you might get your jewelry snatched, your lip busted or your wallet ripped from your pocket. For Vic, there was one show, in Santa Ana, California, where he had his gold chain taken off his neck after diving through the audience.

“I wanted that s— the f— back, so all my homies ran up and that s— turned up,” he says. “People try to snatch hats off your head. And the hats they might f— around and not give back. Like, the chain, he was like, I might have to give this back or they gonna f— me up.”

Risks aside, don’t expect Vic to stop crowd surfing. Like any good frontman, he’s not one to play it safe. He’s there to evoke feeling, emotion and movement from people in any way that he can.

“My whole approach is just to disrupt,” he says. “So that’s just what that is. It looks different, it sounds different, it feels different — so it’s not going to be understood perfectly. People that get it, get it.”

—Instagram @music

Pencils, Pebbles, Stories and Stationary with @inklinks To see...

Sat, 08/29/2015 - 19:06

Pencils, Pebbles, Stories and Stationary with @inklinks

To see more photos of Lito’s paperstones and vintage writing tools, follow @inklinks on Instagram.

London writer and editor Lito Apostolakou (@inklinks) has a deep appreciation for the tools of her trade. A collector of Victorian embossed glass ink bottles, eclectic pencils and pens and vintage stationary, Lito who’s also a trained historian, says neglected writing supplies of olden days bear the signs of time and have their own hidden stories. “One can’t have too many pencils — or pencil pots for that matter,” she says. Lito combines some of these finds with stones she picks up wherever she goes and turns them into paperweights, or, as she calls them, “paperstones.” “Pebbles are layers of time, words are layers of meaning,” says Lito. “The fusion of natural and man-made materials, of soft and hard surfaces, lettering, pencils, paper and inks leads to the creation of a new object with a story. Paperstones are writing companions and inspiration aids.”

Dan Deacon Ponders Creativity in Music, Architecture and Kermit...

Sat, 08/29/2015 - 16:47

Dan Deacon Ponders Creativity in Music, Architecture and Kermit the Frog Memes

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

Dan Deacon finds beauty and amazement in everything: bright desert flowers; cheap, obscure DVDs that he buys at gas stations with titles like Mr. Art Critic — even jumbled snapshots of himself or his friends, where he misplaces and doubles up basic facial features.

“I like how disturbing they are. I find them to be hysterical,” the Baltimore-based electronic musician says of the twisted portraits. “I love the mixture of comments. There’s no more polarizing post than a face on a human head sideways with, like, two mouths. No one doesn’t have an opinion on that photo.”

These days, the 33-year-old spends a lot of time on his tour bus — a converted school bus named Vantastic that he and his pals gut and remodel before every trek — scrolling through pictures, pondering why and how people respond to them all.

“I love when someone posts something they think has a powerful message and then the first comment is something completely having nothing to do with it or completely changes the context of how everyone is going to see it next,” he says. “Like, the fact that Kermit the Frog drinking tea became a set of memes that completely changed the entire character of Kermit the Frog is insane. The fractal effects of what happens once you put an idea in the world is endless.”

In a way, that represents how Dan looks at his own musical output, from his early days self-releasing albums as a student at State University of New York at Purchase to his most recent album, 2015’s Gliss Riffer. “I think my whole life is seeing a point on a horizon and wanting to get to it but not knowing how to do that, and figuring it out as I go. Or, vice versa, seeing a path in the woods and not knowing where it’s going to take you and following it anyway. For each song, it’s the closest thing to meditating I could probably ever do, sitting there and letting the music take me where it’s taking me and trying to get what’s inside my head outside without thinking about it too much.”

Yet, for all the school bus travels and international audiences he leaves in pools of sweat with his egalitarian shows — where he almost always performs in the midst of the crowd — Dan gets bored like any other human. And when DVDs like Mr. Art Critic and Two-Headed Shark Attack aren’t enough, he’ll find a unique way to entertain himself. Take the recent prank he pulled at Ireland’s Body & Soul festival.

“I was talking about how I was obsessed with The Doors in high school and I used to draw The Doors logo in notebooks. Then someone was like, ‘What does The Doors logo look like?’ And I said, ‘I can draw it for you, exactly, from memory.’ There was no table space, so I was leaning up against our dressing room door while doing it, so I thought, I should just tape this here. And then, I don’t know why, I started drawing it again and then I was like, I’ll tape this on the door of Savages’ dressing room.’ Then I really liked how it looked, so I did it to all the dressing rooms.” Eventually, a worker at the festival took them all down, but Deacon took them out of the trash and reapplied them. “I don’t know,” he says of his motives. “It was really fun. I had a great time.”

For the rest of the summer and a bit into autumn, Dan will be playing gigs, mostly festivals, in Europe and the US. After that, it’s back to figuring out a path to the figurative point on the horizon. “I’m starting to sketch out the new record. I’d like to get going on that. It takes me a while to formulate an idea. We’re going to have some non-pop music projects as well and getting into production of music that’s not my own, so I’m excited for that. Nothing at the confirmed stage to talk about, but I’m trying to diversify my output. I really want to keep making as much music as possible in as many different forms as you can make it, and trying to expand on what music is — or the next art form of what will be sound-based but not music.”

There doesn’t seem to be a way to explain it, so we’ll just have to trust Dan’s ability to see and hear the world in his own unique way and turn it into something that fascinates and entertains us, just as a dollar DVD or face-swapping app does for him.

—Dan Reilly for Instagram @music

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

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 22:33

Instagram @music’s Monthly Hashtag Project: #MHPmysounds

Monthly Hashtag Project is a series featuring designated themes and hashtags chosen by Instagram’s Community Team. For a chance to be featured on the Instagram blog, follow @music on Instagram.

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

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

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 20:47

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPmyoasis

Weekend Hashtag Project is a series featuring designated themes and hashtags chosen by Instagram’s Community Team. For a chance to be featured on the Instagram blog, follow @instagram and look for a post announcing the weekend’s project every Friday.

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

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

PROJECT RULES: Please add the #WHPmyoasis hashtag only to photos taken over this weekend and only submit your own photographs to the project. Any tagged image taken over the weekend is eligible to be featured Monday.

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

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 14:05

Announcing Worldwide InstaMeet 12: October 3-4

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

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

This Worldwide InstaMeet falls just before the Instagram community’s birthday on October 6. To celebrate the vibrant, diverse and global community that has grown since Instagram launched just five short years ago, the theme of #WWIM12 will be to share #todayimet portraits of the people you meet. To help others connect to new and interesting people, ask the subject of your portrait about their favorite Instagram accounts, and include them in your caption with the #whoifollow hashtag.

Browse the #todayimet hashtag for portrait inspiration, and learn more about InstaMeets at

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

Thu, 08/27/2015 - 23:45

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—Instagram @music

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

Thu, 08/27/2015 - 18:00

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 19:05

Dueling Beauty: Juxtaposition with @chris_mueller

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 16:35

Hinds Just Want to Have Fun

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—Instagram @music

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

Tue, 08/25/2015 - 19:14

Bringing a City to Life with @legojacker

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

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

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

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

Tue, 08/25/2015 - 16:30

The Many Moods of Singer Luke Black

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—Nicola Meighan for Instagram @music

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

Mon, 08/24/2015 - 19:24

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPabstract

Weekend Hashtag Project is a series featuring designated themes and hashtags chosen by Instagram’s Community Team. For a chance to be featured on the Instagram blog, follow @instagram and look for a post announcing the weekend’s project every Friday.

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