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Unveiling the Unexpected Beauty of an Empty Soccer Stadium For...

Sun, 07/05/2015 - 00:27

Unveiling the Unexpected Beauty of an Empty Soccer Stadium

For more unique images of the Estadio Nacional in Chile explore the hashtag #emptycopaamerica on Instagram. For more action from the Copa America, explore the hashtag #copaamerica2015.

(These interviews were conducted in Spanish.)

Soccer stadiums are full of passion, roars and cheers, unless they are empty. That’s when magic happens.

A few hours before the long-awaited Copa America (@copaamericachile2015) final between Chile and Argentina, the Estadio Nacional (National Stadium) in Santiago, Chile showed a different face to a group of Instagrammers. “You see this place completely empty, in silence, as if it was dormant, but you know it’ll awake soon,” says Tomás Westenenk Orrengo (@t_w_o), a Chilean architect who took part in #emptycopaamerica, an opportunity to greet and meet the stadium’s history with no one around.

“Every corridor and aisle, it’s like a big labyrinth that can take you to unexpected places, so I was inventing memories in my head. In the end, I was able to stop seeing it as a stadium and was able to defragment all of its elements as artistic pieces that produce and communicate different feelings,” adds Alberto Siredey (@asiredey), a designer from the Chilean capital.

Unveiling the Unexpected Beauty of an Empty Soccer Stadium For...

Sun, 07/05/2015 - 00:27

Unveiling the Unexpected Beauty of an Empty Soccer Stadium

For more unique images of the Estadio Nacional in Chile explore the hashtag #emptycopaamerica on Instagram. For more action from the Copa America, explore the hashtag #copaamerica2015.

(These interviews were conducted in Spanish.)

Soccer stadiums are full of passion, roars and cheers, unless they are empty. That’s when magic happens.

A few hours before the long-awaited Copa America (@copaamericachile2015) final between Chile and Argentina, the Estadio Nacional (National Stadium) in Santiago, Chile showed a different face to a group of Instagrammers. “You see this place completely empty, in silence, as if it was dormant, but you know it’ll awake soon,” says Tomás Westenenk Orrengo (@t_w_o), a Chilean architect who took part in #emptycopaamerica, an opportunity to greet and meet the stadium’s history with no one around.

“Every corridor and aisle, it’s like a big labyrinth that can take you to unexpected places, so I was inventing memories in my head. In the end, I was able to stop seeing it as a stadium and was able to defragment all of its elements as artistic pieces that produce and communicate different feelings,” adds Alberto Siredey (@asiredey), a designer from the Chilean capital.

Capturing a Hidden America with @everydayUSA To see more...

Sat, 07/04/2015 - 18:56

Capturing a Hidden America with @everydayUSA

To see more explorations of “what American means to me”, follow the contributors of @everydayUSA on Instagram and explore the #identityUSA hashtag.

Over the past year, a group of photojournalists have been telling stories about Americans you won’t see on the news. Their account is @everydayusa, and the 16 contributors have shown what it’s like to live on the nation’s poverty line with the images of Matt Black (@mattblack_blackmatt), to quiet moments of beauty photographed by Malin Fezehai (@malinfezehai), ironic encounters with modern Americana by David Guttenfelder (@dguttenfelder), and more.

One of the members is Miki Meek (@mikimeek). She is half-Japanese, grew up Mormon in West Mountain, Utah and now lives in New York City where she works as a producer for the public radio show This American Life. “I’m a very random — or maybe classic — American,” she says.

To tell stories like Miki’s, the group has started #identityUSA, a call for personal images that answer the question, “What does America mean to me?” Miki says, “We are all spread out, with different interests and backgrounds, missions and viewpoints. We’re trying to tease out what isn’t obvious, but is right in front of you.”

Lugging a @pianoaround with Musician Dotan Negrin To see more...

Sat, 07/04/2015 - 16:41

Lugging a @pianoaround with Musician Dotan Negrin

To see more of Dotan’s piano road trips, check out @pianoaround on Instagram. For more music stories, head to @music.

In 2010, Dotan Negrin (@pianoaround) left New York City and moved to a studio apartment on wheels. He purchased a moving van on eBay, in which he put carpeting, small bins to hold his clothes, a cooler for food and, most importantly, his upright piano. Then he set off on an adventure.

“I would be in a new city every week,” says Dotan, who was occasionally accompanied by his dog Brando. “I would push my piano out to the street and play. Every day I was meeting at least 30 people and would have conversations and people would invite me over to their houses and I would have dinner with their families. It was such a gratifying experience. I wasn’t making any money. But it showed me the world. It showed me there were other ways to live rather than how people tell you.”

Before that, Dotan had been working a 9-to-5 job, doing deliveries for an artist. He enjoyed traveling, but six months in, he was ready for a change. “I would wake up every day, working toward someone else’s dream, doing what people told me to do,” he says. “I was very unhappy. I wasn’t challenged, and the work wasn’t gratifying.”

Dotan had already been practicing the piano by then, though he wasn’t a fan of playing in front of crowds. Still, he enjoyed meeting new people and the instrument itself, so he put himself on the spot, dragging the piano out on the street in New York and playing for passers-by.

Eventually, he decided to combine his love of music and traveling. He hopped in his van and took off across the continent, to play the piano in places you wouldn’t necessarily expect to see one: a lookout point in Yellowstone National Park, the Nevada desert, Lake Tahoe. Dotan’s first road trip had him circle the United States, a trek that lasted five months and about 15,000 miles.

“Looking back, all of this was a huge social experiment for me,” says Dotan. “Every single day I would try something new.”

Traveling around the world and playing the piano was, in a sense, Dotan’s dream, but there were moments when he was ready to pack up his bags and head back to New York. In Nicaragua, he was robbed of his passport, iPhone and laptop. They left the piano, though, along with $100 that Dotan had hidden in the van. Then there were the miles he spent driving by himself, left with nothing but his thoughts and the open road.

“I can’t even count how many times I thought, What am I doing with my life? Or how many times I thought, Oh I need to quit this and get a real job,” says Dotan. “When you’re driving by yourself in a car for long distances, you do a lot of thinking. And there were times that I drove in silence, because there were just so many thoughts. It is kind of like this soup that keeps boiling and boiling and gets hotter and hotter — it’s boiling to the point where it would explode. And there are times where I would be crying while driving, just feeling lost.”

However, every time Dotan decided to go down a different path, he would eventually go back to what he was doing: playing the piano, meeting people, traveling — it felt like the right thing to do.

Today, Dotan is back in New York City, attempting to compile the video footage and pictures from his multiple road trips across America and Europe. He still plays piano on the streets, of course, and has a moving job a few days a week to pay the bills. Music is, and always will be his passion — though admittedly, he’s tired of moving pianos around by himself. He’s had too many cramps and broken bones and pulled muscles over the years. For now, the reason he continues to push his upright piano around is the same reason he started traveling and doing it all over the country: the ability to play music for crowds, to experience new places and to connect with others.

“It’s mainly the people that inspire me to do it,” says Dotan.

– Instagram @music

Restoring Classic Bikes with @sargentandco For more vintage...

Sat, 07/04/2015 - 13:56

Restoring Classic Bikes with @sargentandco

For more vintage bike renovation follow @sargentandco. To keep up with this year’s Tour de France, follow @letourdefrance on Instagram and browse the #tdf2015 hashtag.

Just a few weeks before Bradley Wiggins became the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France (@letourdefrance) in 2012, he appeared in Rob Sargent’s bike shop, Sargent & Co. (@sargentandco), in Finsbury Park, north London. “It was just so exciting,” says Rob, who opened the shop in 2008 after a career in photography and art. Bradley was there for a photo shoot inside the shop, where the walls are covered with a stock of vintage bike frames from France, England, Belgium and Italy, and the house cat Aalto prowls between the suspended frames and window displays. “He had a very strong presence which remained after he left; he was here for about half a day,” Rob recalls fondly. A sign in the shop window reading “Go Wiggo Go!” stayed up throughout the rest of the London 2012 Olympics.

Rob creates custom builds or renovates old classics to their former glory for customers, a passion project turned into a full-time endeavor. Rob is also currently restoring a Thames sailing barge, as well as doing scene painting for feature films. “Since I opened the shop I don’t get much time on the bike,” he jokes. “I was warned about that.”

Some of Rob’s favorite models include the first bike frame he made from scratch, as well as frames that come in from T.J. Quick, Raleigh and A.S. Gillott. “English frames are particularly unique as the cycling racing at the time didn’t allow you to show any branding so the builders would try and make the frames very distinct with fancy legs and ways of doing things,” he says.

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPnightlights Weekend Hashtag...

Fri, 07/03/2015 - 19:36

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPnightlights

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 capture dynamic displays of light in the darkness. Some tips to get you started:

  • Look for all the different sources of light that can illuminate an interesting scene around you, including street lamps, flashlights, candles and moonlight.
  • The glowing lights of buildings and bridges at night offer a great opportunity for cityscapes.
  • Remember to hold your camera as still as possible for the longer exposure required in a low light setting. To prevent your photo or video from being too bright or grainy, tap and hold the brightest part of your frame to adjust and lock the exposure.
  • If you’re celebrating Independence Day in the United States this weekend, try to capture the unique light effects of fireworks and sparklers. (Just remember to maintain a safe distance.)

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

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

Fri, 07/03/2015 - 16:41

Instagram @music’s Monthly Hashtag Project: #MHPmusicmuse

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

The goal this month is to make portraits of the people in your life who inspire you musically. Examples include everyone from a talented musician to a friend you share songs and playlists with.

Our project takes inspiration from Erin Margaret Alison Rambo, aka Rambo (@rambo), a 29-year-old photographer based in Fort Worth, Texas. Rambo says the goal of her photography is to share people’s stories, like she does with her best friend, soul singer Leon Bridges.

“Photography can work like music works. It doesn’t always need to be these clean, precise images,” says Rambo. “You have to learn how to pour through a lens instead of a guitar. That’s what made me and Leon work so well — I treat photography the way he treats music. We’re both after the same thing.”

Some tips to get you started:

  • Try to make more candid portraits that capture your subject in a natural moment. “I take portraits by going and doing things together,” says Rambo. “Like, let’s explore the same place and then when you lean against that window in that beautiful light all I’m going to do is tell you to stay still.”
  • Get to know more about your subject and their music before taking their portrait. “With your camera, go up to someone and have a conversation. Seek human connection first,” says Rambo. “When I feel like we’re connecting, we’ll take pictures then.”
  • Experiment with your photography, and look to make the most honest images possible. “If everyone is honest in photography, then everyone should be able to take the same picture from the same angle and it all comes out differently,” says Rambo.

Project Rules: Please add the #MHPmusicmuse hashtag only to photos taken this month and only submit your own. Any tagged image taken this month is eligible to be featured. Finally, please respect an artist’s wishes if they ask not to be photographed.

Enjoying Camping in Style with @yurin1020 To see more of Yuko’s...

Fri, 07/03/2015 - 13:54

Enjoying Camping in Style with @yurin1020

To see more of Yuko’s photos and videos, follow @yurin1020 on Instagram.

(This interview was conducted in Japanese.)

“It all started about eight years ago, when I saw a tent on display and felt a sense of excitement rush through me — and then I bought the tent on impulse,” says Yuko Ueda (@yurin1020), a camping enthusiast and mother of two boys from Osaka, Japan. “My camp debut was quite tough, with both my sons being very little at the time and having only a tent and a cooking stand,” she reflects. “It was so much work, but I still remember the fun we had hunting for insects, seeing the night sky full of stars and having a delicious meal in the great outdoors.”

Now, Yuko not only finds joy in the act of camping itself, but also in collecting the gear and decor that’s essential to camping in style. She has gone so far as to have her husband handcraft some of the equipment to create her ideal environment. “He makes things like wooden tables and wooden poles for the tarp,” she says. “It’s not perfect like the ones sold in stores, but it feels more personal when it’s handmade.”

While autumn is Yuko’s favorite time of the year for camping, she recommends going to a river during the hot summer season. “Setting up the tent and cooking is not easy to do in the heat, but it’s much cooler if you’re closer to water,” she explains. “I would also recommend bringing a tent that’s compact and made out of breathable fabric.”

One thing that Yuko learned over the years is that camping is for everyone, of all ages, genders and groups. In a recent camping trip, she took her dog and a few of her friends and their dogs to enjoy a girls-and-poodles’ night out. “Being able to feel the season and play outside is the best kind of luxury in your everyday life,” says Yuko. “For me, camping and outdoor activities are the best ways to recharge.”

Contrast and Beauty with French Illustrator @malikafavre For...

Thu, 07/02/2015 - 19:57

Contrast and Beauty with French Illustrator @malikafavre

For more of Malika’s illustrations and travel snaps, follow @malikafavre on Instagram.

The art starts with shapes. “Big shapes,” illustrator Malika Favre (@malikafavre) says. Much of her abstract work is inspired by graphic photographers and real-world objects and patterns that she shoots herself — not other sketch artists.

“I always try to spot beauty in everyday things, from a shadow cast on a wall to a beautiful object,” the 32-year-old, who is based in London, says. Then, she starts “cleaning,” cutting away at the image, because Malika is obsessed with negative space. But, she also seeks to add a human element to her canvas, which is why she describes her aesthetic as “bold, minimalistic, colorful and playful with a hint of sexiness.”

Growing up in France in the 90s, when people with graduate degrees had trouble finding work, Malika actually thought she would never turn her passion for drawing into a job. But, when you see art everywhere you look, creating may be the only possible path.

Location, Location, Location: Singer @kevinkahotsui and His Ode...

Thu, 07/02/2015 - 16:54

Location, Location, Location: Singer @kevinkahotsui and His Ode to Hong Kong

To see more of Kevin’s photos of Hong Kong and abroad, check out @kevinkahotsui on Instagram. For more music stories, check out @music.

Hong Kong doesn’t so much delight the senses as bombard them from every direction. The aroma of freshly barbecued char siu in a nearby restaurant, shouting matches among neighboring street vendors and endless rows of neon lights are just a few things that give the island its vitality – and provide the inspiration to singer-songwriter Kevin Kaho Tsui’s (@kevinkahotsui) music and pictures.

For the past two years, Kevin has been working on a series of songs that act as a serenade of sorts to the city. Whether it’s Kowloon City, with its unparalleled selection of global cuisines, or Tai Po – his hometown – with its clean air and stunning vistas, Kevin identifies each district’s unique delights and then sings about them, taking pictures along the way.

“I’d always just written about the normal, standard topics: love songs, happy songs,” he says. “It wasn’t until two years ago, on my birthday … I was supposed to be meeting a friend in an area called Lan Kwai Fong but I got ditched that night, so I was left alone in the area by myself. Out of nowhere I just started writing a song, humming melodies to make myself feel better – that became the start of my so-called ‘location song’ series.”

It’s a series that has taken Kevin across the entire island, distilling each area into succinct slices of guitar pop. His brand of music has the same energetic hallmarks of mid-2000s British indie, combined with the straightforward pop sensibilities of The Beatles – something that he attributes to his father’s penchant for ‘60s rock. To Western audiences that might sound like a tried-and-tested formula for success, but in Hong Kong, Kevin finds himself up against the overwhelming dominance of Cantopop (Cantonese pop music). “In Hong Kong, you’ve got singers like Eason Chan, that’s what most people are listening to in 2015,” he explains. “Twenty years ago, what were they listening to? The same guy! My point is that it’s still the same power-pop and power-ballads that make up mainstream Cantopop music.”

“I’ve always just wanted to make something different from everything else, and music in this city – mainstream or indie – is always about love or breakups,” he continues. “No one has ever written about the city or the culture in English, so I saw that as a new option for me and went for it.” It’s an option that has paid dividends, as Kevin has gone from playing in tiny Western-style pubs in front of a half-dozen customers to performing at Clockenflap, Hong Kong’s biggest annual music and arts festival, and amassing a fan base of ex-pats and locals, English and Chinese speakers alike.

Now, he is ready to take his “location series” abroad – his latest song is an ode to Tokyo’s ultra-fashionable Harajuku district, which he wrote before he had even arrived.

“There are some places in the world that you may never have been to but you always have some kind of idea about them,” he says. “Lots of girls have never been to Paris, but in their mind they think of it as a romantic place. So for Harajuku, the song captures how I felt about the location before I’d been to it.”

The initial reason for Kevin’s trip to Tokyo was to see Paul McCartney in concert. However, he didn’t realize you needed to be a citizen to buy tickets. So he decided to contact a Japanese friend of his. The two met in 2008 during a hitchhiking trip from England to Africa.

“I know, it sounds really epic,” says Kevin, in a tone that suggests he considers it the most normal thing in the world. Clearly this is somebody who thrives off travelling. Thanks to his songs and pictures, we can be passengers right alongside him.

– Mike Sunda for Instagram @music

Sharing Scenes From the Streets of Milwaukee For more small...

Thu, 07/02/2015 - 14:02

Sharing Scenes From the Streets of Milwaukee

For more small town visions from Jarvis, follow @lurkhard1 on Instagram.

“#Hellomynameis Jarvis Lawson (@lurkhard1), and I am a 24-year-old photographer based out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Being from such a small town has made me who I am today. No one knows anything about where I live, and popular pictures are often from bigger cities. If I make somebody feel like they should’ve been in Wisconsin — or wish they were in the place I took the photo — I feel like I’m doing the right thing.

I started photography two years ago. I remember when I first started shooting with my iPhone 4S, my girlfriend would drive me to the airport to catch airplanes, and all that ridiculous stuff that a lot of people wouldn’t do. She would sit there for hours just watching me shoot planes with my little phone. That’s when I knew she was a keeper.”

Freehand Precision with @lifeasfunder To see more photos from...

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 19:07

Freehand Precision with @lifeasfunder

To see more photos from inside Thomas Funder’s sketchbook, follow @lifeasfunder on Instagram.

Thomas Funder (@lifeasfunder) fell in love with drawing on a wet, dreary day 12 years ago in northern Denmark. He was 11 years old and bored inside his grandparents’ house. “Then my father gave me a car magazine, a pen and a piece of paper,” Thomas recalls. “The rest of the day I was sitting and drawing cars while getting inspired from the illustrations in the magazine. This was the kickoff.”

Thomas hasn’t stopped sketching since, developing his talent for creating extraordinarily precise freehand renderings of watches, cars and sneakers. “Sometimes it can be like a drug. When I finish one sketch I need to start on a new one immediately,” he says. “In a time where 3-D programs are used more than ever, the importance of creating a good sketch on paper should never be lost.” In August, Thomas will enroll at Umea Institute of Design in Sweden and hopes one day to land his dream job: “It would be an honor for me to work in the Swiss watchmaking industry.”

Ostrich Eggs and Pink Orbs: The Album Artwork of @coldpolars To...

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 16:38

Ostrich Eggs and Pink Orbs: The Album Artwork of @coldpolars

To see more of Jacob’s artwork, check out @coldpolars on Instagram. For more music stories, head to @music.

As a teenager, Jacob Escobedo (@coldpolars) would pick through his parents’ record collection and choose what to listen to based on the artwork. There he found the likes of Joy Division, New Order and a host of other legendary groups that would go on to shape the world around him. Turns out the old adage, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is occasionally wrong.

“I would just sit there and study all the details,” he says. “Now more than ever you can’t really get into albums like that. You’re listening to an album that comes out on Spotify and you don’t have any emotional attachment to the art. The way we experience music is very different now.”

Different, yes, but not dead. Jacob notes the uptick in vinyl records over the last decade has put artwork back on a pedestal –– good news for him, since he now designs covers for bands including Broken Bells and The Shins. He usually opts for more minimalist work; he’s attracted to barren landscapes, thanks to growing up in Pioche, a desert town north of Las Vegas. Take what he’s doing on his current project. As the head of design at Cartoon Network, Jacob is tasked with handling the network’s visual components. Right now, that includes the art for the annual Adult Swim Single program, which features unreleased music from major acts. This year, Jacob went with something a bit more exotic for the cover: hand-painted ostrich eggs.

“We ordered them online and luckily they came with nothing inside of them,” says Jacob. “I originally thought I was going to take a Dremel to them and sculpt the eggs into something. And the minute I laid a Dremel blade onto the egg, it smelled like when you go to the dentist and get a cavity worked on. It smelled exactly like that so I gave up on it and was like, you know what, I am just going to paint.”

The project’s Space Age vibe – psychedelic colors and patterns on single-tone backgrounds – is thematically in line with some of Jacob’s previous work, perhaps, most famously, the pink orb cover he created for the band Broken Bells, a duo featuring The Shins’ lead singer James Mercer and the producer Danger Mouse (aka Brian Burton). The label initially wanted the two on the cover of the album, so Jacob started created collages of them, but they didn’t go anywhere. That’s when Danger Mouse stepped in with some words of wisdom.

“Brian called me up and said, ‘I am going to send the whole album finished. I want you to sit with it for two weeks and come back to me with something,’” recalls Jacob. “I am just influenced by whatever is surrounding me, and I surround myself with all these old books and records and artwork. And I have a big collection of science fiction paperbacks because I love the artwork on ‘60s and ‘70s fiction. So I ended up pulling several covers from my bookshelf and sitting there and going, This sounds so much like you’re in deep space and very lonely. It kind of makes you feel like you’re floating in space.” The sci-fi artwork, along with some old architectural drawings, resulted in an orb. When he turned the color to pink, he knew he was on to something – and so did Broken Bells, who responded to it immediately. The band had been looking for something simple and iconic, and the colored orb nailed it. That’s one of the reasons that Danger Mouse continues to come back to Jacob for work. They have a similar sensibility, both in music and in art. It’s a creative shorthand that Jacob looks to apply to all his work, no matter who it’s with, or what it takes to complete it.

“I work in so many different mediums,” he says. “I try to use whatever medium is best for the project and whatever it inspires.”

– Instagram @music

Free-diving with Whales, Dolphins, and Australian photographer...

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 14:07

Free-diving with Whales, Dolphins, and Australian photographer @mishkusk

To see more of Michaela’s photographs and videos, follow @mishkusk on Instagram.

“We could all look at the endless ocean every single day,” says Michaela Skovranova (@mishkusk), describing her reaction when her family moved from landlocked Slovakia to the coast of Australia. “One early morning during a swim I could hear soft clicks of a dolphin and suddenly she appeared right beneath me. She looked at me with the most curious eye—and just as quickly she was gone. I was left breathless and from then on I wanted to feel that every single day – and perhaps let other people feel that too through my work.”

Now 27 years old, and working as a freelance photographer and filmmaker, Michaela describes her continuing relationship with the water:

“My preparation for the ocean consists of swimming practice and free diving training, without breathing equipment. Underwater photography is still relatively new to me, and my experience photographing the humpback whales last year was a major catalyst for my love affair with the ocean. Achieving these images lies in the preparation of camera equipment prior to jumping into the ocean, and also the physical ability to free dive. In particular, within some places like the Polynesian islands of Tonga, it’s not legal to use scuba equipment when you swim with the humpback whales, so if you have the ability to hold your breath and free dive, you have a greater opportunity to interact with them. The adult whales weigh 40 tons, and only take a breath every 30 minutes, so when they do come up, which can be at high speed, it can be a heart-stopping moment — one that’s worth the wait. The baby whales breathe every few minutes and they can be wonderfully playful too, which makes them a little easier to photograph!

In terms of technical preparation, I use a very simple setup to allow me to move as fast as possible, once I am in the ocean. I use a fixed focal length lens, I may even preset the exposure, pre-focus once I jump in, and then let the ocean influence the images too.

Every day can be different. In the ocean I find you have less control of your body and the variables, so not having to worry about the equipment leaves my subconscious open to play. Seeing all the wonderful things that the ocean creates, all I need to do is respond to it, and sometimes hold my breath for a little while — and if I am really lucky, a dolphin may come and say hi.”

Sharing Adrenaline with @100limitefilmes To see more of...

Tue, 06/30/2015 - 18:59

Sharing Adrenaline with @100limitefilmes

To see more of Murilo’s adventures, follow @100limitefilmes on Instagram.

Brazilian adventure photographer Murilo Vargas (@100limitefilmes) shares adrenaline for a living. “Rock climbing got me into photography, as I always wanted to capture the essence and beauty of the sport. When a friend gave me my first camera back in 2004, I became instantly fascinated with capturing my altitude adventures on film, and adventure photography became my obsession,” says the 34-year-old Rio de Janeiro resident. Murilo has found that capturing athletes at daredevil heights can be just as intense as performing the sport. He recalls a time he photographed a friend highlining — traversing an inch-wide (2.5 cm) nylon line — over Mina Gerais’ Tabuleiro waterfall without any safety ropes. My hands were shaking and sweating, my heart was pulsing and I was so scared that I couldn’t concentrate to capture the best angle. Honestly, I was really happy when it was over and he was safe!”

‘My Life Is F—ing Pride’: @mileycyrus, the Youth LGBT...

Tue, 06/30/2015 - 16:27

‘My Life Is F—ing Pride’: @mileycyrus, the Youth LGBT Movement and the Future of #InstaPride

For more portraits from the LGBT community, follow @mileycyrus and @happyhippiefdn, and explore the #InstaPride hashtag.

Miley Cyrus (@mileycyrus) wants to change the narrative around gender acceptance. She is using photography to share personal, positive stories from the LGBT community — in their own words.

It started with a set of portraits of trans individuals taken by Miley herself. While that series comes to a close this month, the movement is far from over. As the singer and activist explains, there’s more work to be done, and more stories to be shared. “I know everyone’s saying ‘Love wins,’” she says. “But does it? There are still so many people and so many [issues], especially for black trans women.”

Ahead, Miley discusses the thinking behind #InstaPride, the changing narrative around gender rights and how she plans to help moving forward.

Let’s talk #InstaPride. How do you think the response to the campaign has been?

I think it’s been so awesome. It grew to be so much bigger than what we expected. We thought it was just going to be something I would post on Instagram. But these pictures turned out so magical, and everyone’s personality is shining through in all the photos that it felt like it needed something beyond Instagram. We all sat around looking at the pictures, like, These are too good. We’ve got to get this on a bigger platform.

The photos were pretty stunning.

Once gay marriage got legalized, I was at breakfast with my family celebrating and I had so many people walking up to me and saying thank you for what I’ve been doing with the community. It just makes it all so worth it to know that a group of people that don’t always have strong allies feel like they are really important and loved.

Are there any other responses that have struck a chord with you since you launched the series?

I think just how many different trans people I’ve had direct message me on Instagram and tell me their stories. It makes me want to continue to shoot more people all the time. Life kind of hands you your future even if you don’t know it. I’ve always loved photography, but I didn’t want to take pictures of f—ing clothes. I really wanted to take pictures of people who are telling me something, you know? And I think that these people have such a good story that it just makes me now know that this is something I want to do with my life. Maybe one day I could do a book, just to have this continue and keep InstaPride growing past InstaPride.

That would be incredible.

Everyone’s so happy about Pride. But, for me, my life is f—ing Pride. Like, Happy Hippie? That’s my f—ing life. It doesn’t stop in a month. You know? This isn’t Christmas or Valentine’s Day where you give people some presents for no f—ing reason just because you’re supposed to. Saying that these people really matter, my voice matters and I want to use it for something, it’s given me such a purpose.

When these people tell me thank you I don’t think they realize how much self-discovery I’ve had in my own self. Because I’ve also learned a lot about gender fluidity, which I didn’t really understand. I relate to that. My favorite thing Brendan Jordan [who was part of the portrait series] says is, Some days I wake up and I’m the more fem Brendan and some days I wake up and I’m more the masculine Brendan and I don’t know what I’m going to be in the future, but I know that for right now I’m just Brendan. I think that is something that we need to all focus on more. Leo Sheng made a really good point about how much it takes to legally — on social security cards and passports and IDs and licenses — be the gender that you have transitioned into and that what’s in your f—ing pants shouldn’t f—ing matter and the government has no reason to know that personal information either. So that was something that really, I think, struck my mind a lot. Yes, I can celebrate today, but tomorrow it’s back to work.

What’s so wonderful about how you’ve approached this is that you are bringing young people along to speak for themselves. Instead of going on your social networks and just talking about how this issue is important, you’re letting them speak on your platform. Was that something you made a decision to do, or was it just something that happened organically?

It just kind of happened. I feel like my life is insanely serendipitous at the moment. I keep running into people that are really helping me. It’s really nuts. Like, we were working on this project trying to figure out how to help homelessness and we developed all these ideas around an old storage container that a lot of people are using to make these cool looking homes. And the other day, I randomly start talking to someone who has one of the biggest shipping container companies in the world and donated all these shipping containers for us. My life just keeps happening like that. The universe is kind of supplying it all for me. They’re like, if you’ll do the work, you have to deliver it but we’ll give you the materials to do it.

You’ve mentioned that you’ve become more educated about these issues. Can you walk me through what the process was for preparing for this series — or even the steps before it in educating yourself?

Me and Happy Hippie and everyone on my team, I just want everyone around me and everyone that’s important to me and everyone that loves me to be educated on it. So, we talked to a lot of trans experts. They were really helpful. Even when you’re trying to have good intentions you just want to make sure that you’re always up to date on [the issues]. The Leelah Alcorn story is the main reason I kind of started focusing on trans. I just was so struck by that story. Leelah was a white, seventeen-year-old girl [who committed suicide]. And sometimes these stories with other ethnicities don’t make as big of news. So, I just wanted to bring attention to that.

Especially for young people, they see so many negative stories about trans individuals.

That’s the thing. Any time you hear about it on the news, it’s usually something that is a suicide or about these kinds of abusive parents or murders and it’s absolutely horrible. People don’t usually get to see people like Tyler Ford go off and write and be a journalist. It’s just really, really incredible. You can really be a hero. You can really have a great life. You know, it’s hard because when you’re a kid and you’re under your parents’ rules and you don’t agree with something, it can be really rough. I went through it, but I just try to remind kids that that’s not your life forever. Just see that light at the end of the tunnel and try to surround yourself with people that do support you. Be compassionate and love your family because that makes us bigger than them already. If I can see past you being an a–hole and you telling me that I’m not allowed to look and be the way that I want to be, then you can look past the way I want to be. You know what I mean? That’s loving unconditionally.

–Instagram @music

Bringing Nature to Life on Ceramics with @niharikahukku To see...

Tue, 06/30/2015 - 14:00

Bringing Nature to Life on Ceramics with @niharikahukku

To see more photos and videos of Niharika’s ceramics and paintings, follow @niharikahukku on Instagram.

“For me, to create form and function out of what is essentially mud was magical,” says Sydney-based artist Niharika Hukku (@niharikahukku). With a background in painting, Niharika started out her career as a commercial illustrator, but later decided to pivot into the field of pottery making. “I always felt a pull towards ceramics,” Niharika says. “I wanted to do something that was personal and organic.”

Now she devotes her time and creative energy to producing porcelain and other ceramic items, which has also allowed her to revisit her painting roots. “While I work all day and into the night, I work at a languid pace relishing in my surroundings, tools, materials and books,” she says. Her workspaces include a garage studio for wheeling and shaping the ceramics and a sun-drenched painting room where they are further enhanced with nature-inspired motifs. For Niharika, her pottery is a way to bring extraordinary ideas to life — like cupping the moon in her hands or catching the clouds in a vessel. “My work is an expression of what I find elegant and beautiful with inspiration seeded in my observations in nature.”

Finding My Crazy, Colorful Self – And Helping Other Teens...

Mon, 06/29/2015 - 14:11

Finding My Crazy, Colorful Self – And Helping Other Teens Sparkle, by @jordvnhaus

To see more bright moments from Brendan’s life, follow @jordvnhaus on Instagram. For more portraits from the LGBT community, follow @mileycyrus and @happyhippiefdn, and explore the #instapride hashtag.

“#Hellomynameis Brendan Jordan (@jordvnhaus) and I am 15 years old. I was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada to a half-Peruvian family. I’m a colorful person, and I try to share photos that feel like me. I post bright moments from my everyday life, that still feel very real.

Last year, I was in a video that went viral. I was dancing in the background of a newscast. Everyone thought it was fake. Like, ‘Oh, he’s just doing it because he knows the camera’s there and he wants that attention.’ It was very overwhelming. I battled a lot of threats. But there were also people who wanted to know more about who that flamboyant boy behind the camera was — who he really was. That’s when I started sharing myself on social media, talking about the things I believe in, standing up for what I believe in, and showing the world who I truly am.

People often tag me in their pics. A girl will be in some crazy, sparkly outfit, and she’ll be like: 'Thank you, Brendan, for giving me the confidence to just wear what I want to wear. Because if I like it and it looks good, then why should I worry about what anyone else says?’ When I get those types of messages, I realize, oh… wow. I’m doing something for someone else. I’m helping someone.

I really hope that other people see that, no matter what, I’m a 15 year old who is happy with himself. A 15 year old who is loud, and who’s just trying to stay strong and fight for what he believes in. I post sometimes about my makeup looks, and I want my followers to think to themselves: 'Oh, it’s a boy wearing makeup. I’m a boy and I want to wear makeup. Why can’t I do that?’”

Photographing Through Love and Grief with @ianwillms To see...

Sun, 06/28/2015 - 20:39

Photographing Through Love and Grief with @ianwillms

To see more photos by Ian Willms, follow @ianwillms on Instagram.

A few emotional pictures became the start of a photographic odyssey for Ian Willms (@ianwillms). Seven months ago, Ian’s father was in a motorcycle accident in South Africa. “When I first got there, he was unconscious so I was very hesitant to take pictures of him. I took one or two just with the intention of keeping them for myself and for my own understanding of what happened,” says Ian, who is a freelance photojournalist.

As his father recovered and became a willing participant, taking pictures took on a more profound purpose. The camera allowed Ian to find expression for feelings of shock, sadness, isolation, love, and ultimately anguish. On May 20th, Ian’s father unexpectedly passed away. Even amidst this grief, Ian continues to photograph. “After he died it just became about his presence in things and places,” Ian says. “Maybe the act of making something out of it will be therapeutic,” he adds. “I’m hoping to photograph it for as long as I feel like I’m going through it. I think that’s an important thing.”

The Week on Instagram | 189 News Huffington Post: 11 Images...

Sun, 06/28/2015 - 14:18

The Week on Instagram | 189


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