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@betweentwoears Offers a Picturesque Perspective on the Irish...

Sun, 12/13/2015 - 21:57

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@betweentwoears Offers a Picturesque Perspective on the Irish Countryside

To see more of Alex and Ben’s jaunts, follow @betweentwoears on Instagram.

Between the ears of Alex Calder’s (@caldalex) trusted chestnut thoroughbred Ben lies one of the finest views of the Irish countryside. “Where we live is an old part of Ireland, and it’s quite historic,” says Alex. “It’s where the Vikings came when they landed in the 800s or 900s. There’s an old, ruined castle, an 800-year-old church and an old corral, which apparently King John of England camped in.” Her scenes from the saddle on @betweentwoears draw inspiration from “The Finest View in Europe,” a painting by English artist Charles “Snaffles” Johnson Payne. “It’s just the horse’s head and neck and ears, and he’s looking over the fields. I always think of it when I take photos,” Alex says.

Luckily, Ben is mostly patient during impromptu photo shoots on their rides. “You can see how alert he is,” she says. “When I stop and take pictures, he sort of sticks his head up and pricks his ears.”

Rap Can’t Save Jorge Alvarez To see more of Jorge’s world,...

Sun, 12/13/2015 - 16:32

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Rap Can’t Save Jorge Alvarez

To see more of Jorge’s world, check out @jorgasm3000 on Instagram. For more music stories, head to @music.

“I know I am getting weirder,” an 18-year-old emcee announces to the world. His name is Jorge Alvarez (@jorgasm3000). He’s from St. Petersburg, Florida. He’s got a shock of fire-engine-red-meets-platinum-blond hair. And he’s ready to tell you how he sees the world, with no regrets, excuses or expectations.

“When I first got into rap, I was a corny-ass wannabe,” he says. “Like, the thought in my mind was, ‘How do I look like a rapper? How do I sound like a rapper?’”

Jorge was 15 years old then, and kids around school had heard he was trying to make his own music. So they’d mock him and tell him to perform on the spot. But then he released his first track, “Street Sweepers,” and they shut up and started taking him seriously. He’s been recording and performing music every day since, releasing tracks like “Rap Can’t Save You” and “The Kandy Man.

“I don’t think I’m the best rapper,” says Jorge, whose latest song, “The Rat,” has him laying out his vision over a mellow, jazz-inflected beat. “I can’t even sing. But I can put my ideas together with words and have enough magic that is interesting to listen to.”

He admits that that magic — his music, but also his style, dark sense of humor and fashion — makes him stick out from the crowd. But that’s fine with him. As long as he’s happy, he’ll keep riding the wave.

“I never, ever want to become a cool kid,” he says. “I’d rather be lame and in love.”

—Instagram @music

The Week on Instagram | 213 News Marie Claire: Your Instagram...

Sun, 12/13/2015 - 15:45

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The Week on Instagram | 213

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Illustrative Storytelling with @_yodaka To see more of Shoko’s...

Sat, 12/12/2015 - 21:57

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Illustrative Storytelling with @_yodaka

To see more of Shoko’s artwork, follow @_yodaka on Instagram.

(This interview was conducted in Japanese.)

“I incorporate realistic-looking people with elements of fantasy to create contrasting visual effects,” Michigan-based illustration student Shoko Ishida (@_yodaka) explains. She posts her stories to reach a wider audience and offer a look into her creative process. “I want people to feel closer to the actual artist,” says Shoko, whose childhood in both the United States and Japan influenced her artistic style.

Shoko’s journey to illustration began in elementary school. She would fold and cut sheets of paper to create her own manga, or comic books, which her friends loved reading. Just as she used to entertain friends with handmade comic books, Shoko hopes to inspire others with her visual storytelling. “My artwork expresses a story, and people who see it interpret the story in their own way — and that chain of different stories is what I strive for.”

Embracing the Anti-Selfie with @pepedsgn To discover more...

Sat, 12/12/2015 - 16:54

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Embracing the Anti-Selfie with @pepedsgn

To discover more anti-selfies from all over the world, follow @pepedsgn on Instagram.

(This interview was conducted in Spanish.)

Italian designer Giuseppe Pepe (@pepedsgn) erases all the heads from his photos. “It’s my anti-selfie concept,” he says. “I remove the head because I don’t like ‘perfect’ beauty. I achieve that through the graphics, the details and my edit.” At 14 years old, Giuseppe started experimenting with altering photos; today, he edits images from all over the world for his project #LoosingMyMind.

Giuseppe was born in Sicily, but his passion for nightlife and DJ culture took him to another island, Ibiza, Spain. “Here, my creativity came alive … Ibiza has this creative energy and good vibe,” he says. “Without Ibiza, my project would not have been born.”

How Jonathan Grado Helps Shape the World of Grado Headphones To...

Sat, 12/12/2015 - 16:20

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How Jonathan Grado Helps Shape the World of Grado Headphones

To see more of Jonathan’s work in and outside Grado Labs, check out @jongrado and @gradolabs on Instagram. For more music stories, head to @music.

Growing up, Jonathan Grado (@jongrado) kept his dad’s profession to himself. “It kind of became this thing where I didn’t tell anyone about it,” says the 24-year-old New York native.

So what was the big family secret? Audio equipment. Launched by Joseph Grado (Jonathan’s uncle) out of his home in 1953, the goal of Grado Labs was to create high-quality phonograph cartridges. Two years later, Joseph moved the company into the family’s fruit store, on Seventh Avenue in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, where they’ve remained ever since.

Grado’s only major shift over the last 60-plus years has been the introduction of headphones, in 1991 — the same year Jonathan was born. By then, his father — also named John — had taken over the business. Most of the building was used to make Grado’s products. On the top floor was an apartment, where Jonathan and his younger brother grew up. Yet despite the proximity to the business, he wasn’t all that interested in the company until he got to college.

“I needed something to put on my résumé for this mandatory portfolio review at school,” says Jonathan, who studied graphic design. He ended up asking his dad if he could just say he was in charge of Grado Labs’ social media efforts. His response: “Well, you can, but only if you do it.”

Challenge accepted. Jonathan got to work on the company’s digital front, a job that entails handling all of the company’s online efforts. An added bonus was being able to marry the family business with his interest in photography. Any time you see a perfectly modeled Grado headphone, you have Jonathan to thank.

“My mom and my brother are really good at art, and then my dad can build headphones, and he’s more in like the electrical engineer creating side,” he says. “Me, I can barely draw a stick figure, let alone a square, so I picked up a camera.”

Six decades in, and the company is still plugging away, using the same techniques and many of the same machines. An even more impressive feat: Grado rarely releases new headphone lines, and has never advertised.

“We came out with a new line of headphones in the summer of 2014. When Christmas came, we were nine weeks back-ordered, which is like the busiest we’ve ever been,” says Jonathan. “Fortunately, we’re still that busy. We’ve just gotten more efficient.”

—Instagram @music

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPthelittlethings Weekend Hashtag...

Fri, 12/11/2015 - 23:03

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Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPthelittlethings

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

The goal this weekend is to make photos and videos of the small, everyday moments and objects that bring you joy.

Here’s how to get started:

  • Focus on both the beauty in details (like the personal touches to a favorite nook, or the holes in your well-worn socks) and small gestures that hold great meaning (like receiving a handwritten note).
  • Look for subtle moments that catch your eye but you wouldn’t normally photograph — like the steam rising up from your teacup catching just the right light.
  • In your caption, explain the significance behind the small items and why they caught your eye.

PROJECT RULES: Please add the #WHPthelittlethings hashtag only to photos and videos taken over this weekend and only submit your own visuals to the project. Any tagged photo or video taken over the weekend is eligible to be featured Monday.

Appreciating World Mountain Day with Water Engineer...

Fri, 12/11/2015 - 16:03

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Appreciating World Mountain Day with Water Engineer @jack__hogan

To see more of Jack’s outdoor adventures, check out @jack__hogan on Instagram.

“Mountains provide better flood protection and water storage than any man-made structure,” water engineer and Fulbright fellow Jack Hogan (@jack__hogan) explains. The son of a park ranger in Northern California, Jack grew up on a freshwater lake; he spent his summers fishing and his winters hiking through creeks up in the mountains. Today, most of Jack’s work reverses the negative effects of infrastructure projects from the 20th century to strike a balance between humans and nature.

Jack is naturally drawn to photographing waterscapes. “I especially enjoy capturing the effect that water can have on a landscape,” Jack says. “This is easy to recognize in a place like the Grand Canyon, but you can also see it in a stream no wider than your finger.” He hopes his digital storytelling skills will someday bridge the gap between scientific research and policymaking.

@whereloveisillegal: Honoring Human Rights and Untold...

Thu, 12/10/2015 - 22:00

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@whereloveisillegal: Honoring Human Rights and Untold Stories

For more untold stories, follow @hammond_robin and @whereloveisillegal on Instagram.

When Robin Hammond (@hammond_robin) heard about multiple young Nigerian men facing the death penalty for committing same-sex acts, he wanted to take action. “News reports told us their names but nothing more,” the New Zealand-born, Paris-based photojournalist says. “I wondered if they, like so many others, would be erased from history with only the narrative of bigotry to remember them by.” And so, “Where Love Is Illegal” (@whereloveisillegal), a project to shine a light on people in the LGBT community — like Biggie from Uganda — was born. “We have received stories of survival — a global voice, a group of people who say you can beat and shame me, but you will not silence me,” Robin says.

His process is collaborative; Robin combines his Polaroid portraits with survivors’ personal photos and testimonies. “These are people who, in most cases, are not given the right to tell their own stories,” Robin says. “For many, it was the first time they had control over how they were heard and seen.”

December 10 is Human Rights Day. For more stories of bravery and social justice, explore the #HumanRightsDay hashtag.

The Hidden Talent of Miniature Tigers’ Lead Singer Charlie...

Thu, 12/10/2015 - 17:05

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The Hidden Talent of Miniature Tigers’ Lead Singer Charlie Brand

To see more of Charlie’s drawings, check out @charliebrand on Instagram. For more music stories, head to @music.

Charlie Brand (@charliebrand) began playing the drums and guitar when he was an 11-year-old kid living in Arizona, and has worked obsessively to build a career as the lead singer and songwriter of the pop band Miniature Tigers. But even in those earliest days of musical discovery, he always loved to draw, and in the last few years, he’s become a prolific cartoonist.

“A few years ago, my favorite artist, David Hockney, started doing these iPad drawings,” says Charlie, referring to the famous British pop artist and painter. “And I thought that was really cool and interesting — a way to make art anywhere regardless of what materials you had. So I started drawing on my iPhone just for fun, and kept doing it to the point that now I’m doing it almost every day.”

With four critically acclaimed albums and seven years of touring under their belt, Miniature Tigers have become pop-rock standouts. Though life on the road can be tough, it has given Charlie ample time to practice his art.

“I’ve never been able to tour and write music at the same time,” he admits. “It’s so hard to find the space and mental wherewithal to want to write at the end of the day. But sitting in the van for hours and hours, instead of endlessly checking my social media, I can pepper in some drawing time, and then I feel like I did something creative today and impacted my brain in a positive way.”

Being on the road also provides him a nice daily dose of inspiration for his work, which tends to focus on the everyday moments. He draws detailed sketches, styled like something you might see in the New Yorker if it was aimed more at the Vice audience. The drawings are often based on photographs he secretly snaps, but universal enough to let the viewer do some emotional work, too.

“I’ll see something — a scene or an image or someone talking — and it catches my eye and triggers my imagination in a way that a superhero kicking a hole in a wall does not,” explains Charlie. “I just like very human things, because I think you can put your own meaning in there as a viewer. Even with music I’ve been more drawn to stories about people, personal to my own life, stories about relationships more so than political messages or anything.”

Frequent subjects include his girlfriend, bandmates and other friends, along with interesting characters he photographs at restaurants, gas stations and other assorted locales. Some are digitally colored, others black and white. Much like his songs, they’re slices of life, distinguished by their oddities and accidents.

“One of the things I always look for in music is flaws and things that aren’t perfect; if someone is recording a take or playing a wrong part and they hit a wrong note or the vocal isn’t quite right, those are the things I really respond to,” he says. “I try to apply some of that to the drawing, because I notice that when I draw, if it gets too perfect, it loses the feeling of my drawing. But if I do something and say, ‘I really f—ed that line up,’ I end up leaving it, and it ends up being my favorite part.”

—Instagram @music

Making Time for Your Own Story with @oprah and #MyStory This...

Thu, 12/10/2015 - 16:19

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Making Time for Your Own Story with @oprah and #MyStory

This story is part of #MyStory — a series that spotlights inspiring women in the Instagram community. Check out O, The Oprah Magazine (@oprahmagazine) to see more of their stories unfold throughout the coming months, and join the conversation by sharing your own experiences with #MyStory. To see more images from Oprah Winfrey, follow @oprah.

This time of year is about giving, which means treating yourself, too. And if there is anyone who inspires people — especially women — to take better care of themselves, it’s Oprah Winfrey (@oprah).

“Every day, I try to give myself a moment to take a few breaths and recharge,” the media personality says, using the time she spends with her five dogs, Layla, Luke, Sunny, Sadie and Lauren, at home in California, as an example of a seemingly small moment that is supremely important. “Treat for me: time with my kids. Treat for them: peanut butter straight from the jar, O yummm!”

The dogs even join her for big career moments. “You’ve seen them before on the cover of O, The Oprah Magazine. They are a big part of my life and my story.”

The Art of Infinity with @killythirsk For more of Killy’s...

Wed, 12/09/2015 - 22:41

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The Art of Infinity with @killythirsk

For more of Killy’s fractal art, follow @killythirsk on Instagram.

Some artists work with paint, paper or pottery. But Killy Thirsk (@killythirsk) uses mathematical formulas to create his mesmerizing fractal art. Based in Indonesia, Killy is part of a global community of math-based artists who draw inspiration from the self-repeating nature of fractal algorithms. “Fractals have infinite detail: In theory, you can zoom in and out without limit,” he says. Using Web-based editing software, Killy is able to render fractal formulas as vibrant, spiraling patterns resembling flowers, waves and celestial bodies. “I know what the art will look like, but the result surprises me … when the render is done, sometimes I sit silently admiring the result.”

Though math is essential to the complexity of his works, Killy’s creative process sounds like that of many artists: “Sometimes [there are] days when I cannot figure out how to convey my imagination through the program.” One of his current projects remains unfinished. What stands in the way? “My PC’s rendering capabilities.”

Movies and Hip-Hop with Music Photographer Nick Mahar To see...

Wed, 12/09/2015 - 16:27

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Movies and Hip-Hop with Music Photographer Nick Mahar

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

When Nick Mahar (@nickmahar) wanted to shoot photos of rap stars like Logic and Macklemore, he went straight to the source.

“I reached out to them and they liked my stuff and it kind of snowballed from there,” says the Dublin, California, native.

Nick’s first love, however, wasn’t photography — it was film. He began making stop-motion animation clips at the age of 6. By middle school, he was dabbling in green screen techniques.

“Originally I wanted to direct,” he says. “The first film that I ever did in high school, we had a decent budget and pretty good equipment, but I realized how much I hated talking to actors. I liked lighting them and talking to them that way.”

Still, the experience would help later on, when he handled cinematography duties on the concept video for Logic’s album, The Incredible True Story. At that point, Nick had already switched gears to photography and was fully entrenched in the Maryland rapper’s camp, helping out with video production and photo shoots. On the side, he was able to photograph other stars, including Trey Songz and 50 Cent.

While Nick’s end goal is to shoot large-scale composite photos with musicians, for now he’s good just working with someone he can collaborate with.

“With Trey Songz, it’s mainly club events where I am shooting him. Whereas with Logic, I can be like, ‘There’s this really cool place, want to come over here and shoot?’ Sometimes I get five shots. Other times we can have conservations and I am telling him jokes, telling him to look this way and that way. He’s very good with direction.”

—Instagram @music

Sticky Daily Disguises with Prop Master @bobbugs To see more of...

Wed, 12/09/2015 - 15:59

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Sticky Daily Disguises with Prop Master @bobbugs

To see more of Michael’s daily disguises, follow @bobbugs on Instagram.

Barbie dolls, clothespins, bananas, cotton balls — you name it and Michael Gump (@bobbugs) has probably glued it to his face. A prop master for television shows, Michael started his daily disguise project on January 1, 2015, as a New Year’s resolution and he hasn’t missed a single day. “I do have ideas for things but a lot of it is flying by the seat of my pants,” says Michael, who lives in Los Angeles. “Often I’ll be somewhere and I’ll see a pile of stuff and think, ‘Should I stick that on my face?’” Michael’s new goal is to reach 1,000 days of daily disguises. “It might literally blow up in my face, but I think it’ll spark more creativity once I run out of things.”

Documenting Human Consequences at Earth’s Poles with...

Tue, 12/08/2015 - 21:57

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Documenting Human Consequences at Earth’s Poles with Photographer @camilleseaman

To see more of Camille’s photos, follow @camilleseaman on Instagram.

California-based photographer Camille Seaman (@camilleseaman) says standing on sea ice is exhilarating — and squeaky. “It’s like Styrofoam,” she says. Camille spent a decade journeying to the polar regions, capturing towering walls of ice emerging from the stillness of hostile environments and solitary “bergy bits,” broken pieces of icebergs adrift at sea. “When I photograph an iceberg, I’m not photographing an inanimate object,” Camille says. “I’m photographing the water that is ours and our relationship to it.” It’s been nearly five years since Camille has been to either polar region — she also photographs storms in the US — but she plans to return to Antarctica next year. “I’m nervous about what I’m going to find,” she says, noting that while she didn’t set out to document evidence of climate change, her travels have opened her eyes to humans’ global impact — a lesson her grandfather taught her when she was just a girl, after she was caught pulling leaves off a branch. “Very gently he said, ‘You think you can do what you want to that tree,’” she recalls. “‘If you think that you can live separate from that tree, see how long you can hold your breath.’ You cannot just do what you want to something and expect no consequences. Whether I’m photographing icebergs or storms, I’m always aware of that relationship.”

‘It’s Been a Long Dream’: Making Beats with Producer...

Tue, 12/08/2015 - 18:18

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‘It’s Been a Long Dream’: Making Beats with Producer OddKidOut

To hear more of Butch’s beats, check out @oddkidout on Instagram. For more music stories, head to @music.

There’s a reason drummer-producer Butch Serianni refers to himself as OddKidOut (@oddkidout).

“I always felt like people didn’t understand me, nor did they understand that I wanted to do something different,” says the 20-year-old Drexel University sophomore and co-host of FACT Magazine’s #FACTInstaBeats series. “From where I am [from], people don’t necessarily grasp the idea of being a musician. It’s kind of taboo.”

No matter. Being on his own just allowed him to build up his skills, first on the drums, which he began playing at the age of six, and then in electronic production, as a teenager. The chronology makes more sense when you check out his videos, where he can be seen gliding across a Native Instruments system, tapping out a beat in real time.

“The format I used to learn drums, I took that concept and transferred it,” says Butch. “Being able to play the drums is one of the big reasons why I can play this electronic drum kit.”

Like producers before him, he credits much of his overall sound to the late, great J Dilla. Butch still remembers the first time he heard Jay Dee, sitting behind the wheel of a car, on his way back home from a music conference.

“The name of the beat was ‘All Good,’ and I just listened to it back-to-back to back-to-back,” recalls Butch. “Then for the next eight months I just listened to Dilla on repeat all the time. I downloaded all the albums I could and just studied the heck out of him.”

The Philadelphia native’s next move is to release an EP under the OddKidOut name — a dream more than a decade in the making.

“The first couple years [music] was definitely a hobby,” he says. “I realized once I had a knack for it and it was making me happy, it became a serious thing. I think the day I said I wanted to be a musician, I was probably eight or nine. So it’s been a long dream.”

—Instagram @music

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPreflective Weekend Hashtag Project...

Mon, 12/07/2015 - 21:53

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Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPreflective

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 #WHPreflective, which asked participants to make photos and videos of creative and surprising reflections. Every Monday we feature some of our favorite submissions from the project, but be sure to check out the rest here.

Reimagining #ReelWomen in Hollywood with @dosomething All this...

Mon, 12/07/2015 - 15:59

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Reimagining #ReelWomen in Hollywood with @dosomething

All this month, @dosomething will be collecting images of reimagined heroines. Share yours with #ReelWomen and visit dosomething.org/reelwomen to learn more.

From 2007 to 2012, only 30.8 percent of speaking characters in the top 500 movies were women. But Nikita Jansen (@artbynikita), a 17-year-old actress and artist living in Los Angeles, saw an even bigger issue.

“It’s not a Hollywood secret that the film industry tends to whitewash their casts,” says Nikita. “I can’t recall ever seeing an Asian woman as a leading role in a major franchise, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a leading character wearing a hijab.”

To address that, Nikita drew what she wished she saw on the big screen: leads from two of this year’s most anticipated blockbusters — The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 and Star Wars: The Force Awakens — as women of color.

“While the original actresses are great, I wanted to show that hiring actresses from different backgrounds won’t change who the character is,” says Nikita. “With this in mind, producers should consider creating heroines that people of all backgrounds can recognize and look up to.”

Celebrating Hanukkah in Brazil with @noavago To add some modern...

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Celebrating Hanukkah in Brazil with @noavago

To add some modern Jewish cuisine with a hint of Brazilian tropics to your feed, follow @noavago on Instagram.

(This interview was conducted in Portuguese.)

Like a lot of 21 year olds, Noá Vago (@noavago) is still finding her identity. “I want to look back on my life in a few years and see that I’m doing something relevant for the world,” she says. When Noá isn’t studying psychology at university in São Paulo she is finding herself in the kitchen, turning to her pots and pans for therapy. Through cooking, Noá pays tribute to her Polish grandmother’s Jewish recipes, but also adds her own modern Brazilian flair to traditional dishes. “Both influences are very much a part of me, so I’m making Jewish dishes but adding some chocolate and Nutella,” she laughs, referring to her chocolate challah bread. For Hanukkah this year, Noá plans to put her special touch on traditional recipes, like potato latkes and doughnuts.

For Noá, cooking is a way to escape everyday pressures, which means not taking herself too seriously. “I think my food looks homemade and tastes like a 21-year-old taking culinary risks,” she says. “I’m just a girl trying to make my escape through the kitchen.”

Capturing Australian Hip-Hop with Photographer Averie Cole To...

Sun, 12/06/2015 - 16:57

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Capturing Australian Hip-Hop with Photographer Averie Cole

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

Averie Cole (@averiecole) was studying photography in Sydney when she came across a quote that changed her perspective.

“It was like, ‘Look at what you love or what your life’s about and follow that.’ So I was like, ‘Oh, I love hip-hop. I’m going to take photos of hip-hop,’” she says.

Averie, who grew up in a small town in Australia, always went to rap shows growing up, but she never thought about bringing her camera with her. That was about to change. Averie began taking pictures of local acts — the Hilltop Hoods, 360, Thundamentals, Horrorshow —as well as the American artists that came through town, like Joey Bada$$, Wiz Khalifa and Pete Rock.

“All of a sudden this whole community opened up to me,” she says, “and I just started meeting new people that I’d never met before, but I’d always seen at shows.”

Today, in addition to her music photography, Averie takes wedding photos on the side to pay the rent, giving her the freedom to focus on her true passion. Now she’s set to release a book of her work, called As Heard By, featuring her journey as a hip-hop photographer. The book will include Averie’s photos of both local and international rappers, along with stories written by other artists.

“I just love shooting hip-hop,” she says. “For me, it doesn’t feel like I’m working.”

—Instagram @music

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