Instagram Blog

Subscribe to Instagram Blog feed
Instagram is a fast, beautiful and fun way to share your life with friends through a series of photos.
Updated: 2 hours 32 min ago

Shooting from Above — and Under the Horizon — with...

Thu, 09/24/2015 - 15:58

Shooting from Above — and Under the Horizon — with @ryan.koopmans

To see more of Ryan’s photos, follow @ryan.koopmans on Instagram.

It takes just the right backdrop for the subject of a photo to pop. In the case of a vintage blue car, photographer Ryan Koopmans (@ryan.koopmans) found a wall mural to be the perfect juxtaposition. “I do have a tendency to prioritize graphic backgrounds and billboards, illustrations and artwork and advertisements that already exist in the real world,” says Ryan. “And I like to play with that relationship so it all sort of becomes like a set or a stage that the characters are unfolding on.” His other priority is height. Whenever Ryan arrives in a city — either for a commissioned assignment or personal photo project — he finds the highest vantage point, like a construction crane or a rooftop restaurant that might allow him access. From these high perspectives, he tries to shoot down the middle of the slope at a 45-degree angle, often excluding the horizon line so “it becomes more like an abstract compressed pattern and repetition of the city below.” Ryan adds, “It’s constantly a focus on getting to an ideal kind of height that is lower than an airplane but higher than what most people would see their city from.”

Hiding and Revealing Worlds with @ilovedots To see more of...

Wed, 09/23/2015 - 21:55

Hiding and Revealing Worlds with @ilovedots

To see more of Tamar’s dots, follow @ilovedots on Instagram.

One of Tamar Cohen’s (@ilovedots) favorite childhood books was Put Me in the Zoo, about a character named Spot — and the New York-based artist has put dots in starring roles ever since. “Of course, people sometimes are like, ‘Really? You’re still doing dots?’ But honestly, it brings me a lot of joy,” she says.

Tamar makes complex collages and silkscreens, some measuring five feet (1.5 meters) tall and made up of more than 90 pages of vintage comics and other dotty ephemera that are glued in place. She hides pictures with dots, or uses them as “windows.” Her dots are playful, mischievous, even sinister — but never dull. “I know I’m not reinventing the wheel here,” Tamar admits, well aware of inspiration like Roy Lichtenstein, but she is committed. “I tend to be a very loyal person and I was just thinking, ‘Wow. I’m pretty loyal to my dots.’ I’m kind of true to them, and I feel like I’m not done at all yet.”

Zane Lowe on the Launch of Apple Music, Beats 1 and Listening to...

Wed, 09/23/2015 - 20:06

Zane Lowe on the Launch of Apple Music, Beats 1 and Listening to Dr. Dre

To see more of Zane’s life at Beats 1, check out @zanelowe on Instagram. For more music stories, head to @music.

“I’m just getting used to being in L.A.”

Zane Lowe (@zanelowe), the gregarious lead anchor for Apple Music’s Beats 1, is currently in a car on the way to LAX, where he’ll board a plane bound for London. It’s a homecoming for the 42-year-old radio host, who cut his teeth at BBC’s Radio 1 for more than a decade before moving out to Los Angeles to help launch Apple’s streaming music service and 24-hour radio service.

Beats 1 has been cruising along smoothly since its start in June, with regular programs from Pharrell, Dr. Dre, St. Vincent, Elton John and Zane himself, among others, as well as a heavy dose of exclusive interviews and world premieres. Just this past week, the station debuted new tracks from Ryan Adams’ cover album of Taylor Swift’s 1989 along with the entirety of What a Time to Be Alive, the syrupy hip-hop mixtape from Future and Drake.

It is certainly a great time to be Zane Lowe. He may have relocated halfway around the world, but he’s still getting to do what he loves: discover new bands, interview artists and play great music.

Zane spoke to Instagram about the launch of Beats 1, the transition from BBC to Apple and the lessons he’s learned since moving to the States.

Instagram @music: We’re three months into the launch of Beats 1. How have you found the change overall? Does broadcasting on Apple feel drastically different from the BBC?

Zane Lowe: I would say that it has been different in the sense that I’m doing my show in the morning on a different coast. I mean, first of all, we’re trying to take into account that we’re broadcasting in different time zones all the time. So there’s no such thing as a daytime radio show or a breakfast radio show, a nighttime radio show, or anything like that. You’ve got to just focus on the language of music — which is really good, because that’s all I know.

When you first started planning the station, how did you go about choosing which artists would host their own shows?

In a very kind of rushed, careful way. We had very limited time to putting the building blocks in place to getting it on the air. It was a little over three months from when we started to actually having to launch. And so, when you take a look at a schedule — it’s seven days a week, 24 hours a day — and you’ve got nothing filling it in, it’s kind of nerve-wracking. Then you start thinking about who your DJ friends are that you want to broadcast on the station. And you’re like, I can’t approach them, they’re all tied into contracts and doing really great shows on really great stations, and I’m not going to be that d—. So how are we going to fill this, and what the hell are we going to do? So it was, you know, shoot for the moon. We were just like, OK, let’s open it up to the artists — see if we can get them to lead the conversation as opposed to being a part of the conversation.

I had a few people in mind. I approached Rebel Sound and Disclosure — people I was friends with. And then we just tried to carefully choose people that we thought would actually sound good on the radio. Do these artists actually want to engage in broadcasting? From there it was fast. And we got really, really lucky in a lot of cases. People got it really quick. Pharrell got it immediately, St. Vincent got it immediately. Same with Elton John. You know, these are people who are, like, Oh, I’m into this, I’ve always kind of wanted to do some radio or I could see how it could be really exciting to reach people in this way. Because that’s really all it is, is that it’s a new way for artists to reach their audience.

And you guys have been rolling in exclusives too. You had the Drake and Future mixtape, What a Time to Be Alive on Sunday, the Ryan Adams’ Taylor Swift covers on Monday. How prescriptive is Beats 1 about going after these things?

It’s more that they just found a place. And what was interesting is when we first started out, understandably, people weren’t really ready to get involved in that kind of conversation. And we didn’t want to push people because we were unproven and untested. You’re this new thing, you don’t want to come in there and start knocking over chairs. It’s like the broadcasting has to speak for itself. And we had so many things we had to fix. I was more worried about how were the records going to sound next to each other. It sort of freed us up to really back new artists and, say, OK, you’re on Apple Music, and we’re this new radio broadcast platform. Rather than finding a way to fit them in and around all these big artists, let’s lead with these artists. Let’s talk about them like they are the biggest thing in the world.

So we’re just trying to get those stories [out]. And I guess over time there are exclusives and things that come along because maybe people like the way the station sounds. Maybe they want to hear their record next to a new artist. So it all happened very naturally and organically. And, you know, God bless Drake and Future.

Well, what a time to be alive.

What a time to be alive, man. I mean, that was exciting, getting that mixtape played back to back. I was just sitting there thinking, like, this is so weird, how is Apple letting us get away with this? We’re playing this mixtape, uninterrupted, prime time, on the weekend. And it’s huge. People are freaking out about it. I was like, man, that album is an appropriately titled piece of work.

But, to echo what you said, you’re giving small artists the time of day too. The first song you launched Beats 1 with was from the band Spring King. That’s the perfect example of democratizing the process and just trying to present good music no matter how big the group is.

To me, Spring King sounded as good as anything else I could possibly imagine to kick-start a radio station with. It’s like, man, it sounds purposeful, it’s exciting, I love the lyrics, the sentiment speaks to me. It’s just — it’s f—ing wicked. Run with that, you know? Because, really, at the end of the day, it’s just a song. That’s what’s great about radio or anything of that nature is that you really are kind of in the moment. And you can sit there and think about it all day, but until you actually just start, nothing’s ever going to evolve or get better. We could’ve kept building Beats 1 forever and ever and ever and ever. It could’ve turned into a [Guns N’ Roses] Chinese Democracy scenario. But at the end of the day, it’s like, just get it on the air and see what people think. And they’ll tell you.

It’s funny you mentioned Chinese Democracy. One of the questions I had for you was about hip-hop’s version of that, with Dr. Dre’s Detox, an album that people waited on for 13 years but was never released. When did you find out Dre, who helped launch Apple Music and Beats 1 with you, was scrapping that and releasing Compton instead?

I was lucky, man. I’ll let you in on a secret. Jimmy [Iovine] played me some stuff really early on. I’d heard six or seven tracks in varying states of completion. So I knew, man, I knew. I was sitting on this information. I knew how dope it was. I was like, oh, s—, he is not f—ing around. Like this is real. He’s doing this. So it was exciting. I just remember I got in the car after work one day, when the album finally came out on Apple Music, and I just put it on in the car and drove all the way home. I was driving through Los Angeles, listening to the Compton album. Dr. Dre has a radio show on the station that we just launched. And I was like this is f—ing awesome.

You’re like, I made the right move coming out to California.

I made the right move [laughs]. I was just like, all right, today, this is a good moment. Just remember this moment.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since coming to Apple?

Where do I start? Always go to Jimmy when you need something done. Always keep your mouth shut when he’s getting the job done. I suppose the biggest lesson, honestly, on a Beats 1 level, is it’s exciting to forge your own path. I believe in keeping your eyes open and looking out for things that might inspire you. But at the same time, you know, I just think — I’m just trying to — it’s a really good question. And I’ll tell you why I’m struggling with it. It’s because I haven’t actually had one second to think about that.

It’s been so fast paced and it’s been so frantic, and it still is every day, and I haven’t actually reflected on one frame since we started. And so what are the lessons that I got here? That’s a f—ing great question. And I think I’m learning them, but I don’t think I’m able to truly know what they are yet. So I guess in a way I’m trying to get a balance between holding on really f—ing tight and letting go when I can. I’m literally like — I’m upside down and inside out. There’s your answer.

Striking Hot Steel with @charleslionheart To see more of...

Wed, 09/23/2015 - 16:02

Striking Hot Steel with @charleslionheart

To see more of Charlie’s blacksmith photos, follow @charleslionheart on Instagram.

In western North Carolina, 24-year-old Charlie Ellis (@charleslionheart) spends his days crafting detailed tools — knives, especially — from wood, leather and steel. He also enjoys the occasional bit of time travel. “When I’m really focused on a project, I sometimes feel out of touch with the world, like I’m in another era,” says Charlie, who at times takes inspiration from the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien and other mythical worlds for his modern-day blacksmithing. Charlie grew up in Florida, but first “struck hot steel” at a summer heritage festival in Maine when he was just 14. “There was a blacksmith giving classes, and after I made a little fire poker and a couple of nails, I was completely hooked,” he says. While craftsmanship runs in the family — his father is a lifelong carpenter — Charlie’s handiwork has an edge all its own. It also pays the bills. “I truly believe this is what I’m meant to do,” he says of smithing and his particular brand of exquisite steelwork. “And to be able to provide for my family [he’s married, with a two-month-old son] while doing the work I love — I feel I’m blessed.”

@kellymariebeeman Paints Fashion Illustrations with a...

Wed, 09/23/2015 - 01:11

@kellymariebeeman Paints Fashion Illustrations with a Twist

To see more of Kelly’s work, follow @kellymariebeeman on Instagram.

The artist Kelly Marie Beeman (@kellymariebeeman) paints fashion illustrations with a twist. “It’s not entirely about depicting fashion brands, runway shows, consumerism, trends, beauty and glamour. It’s a sort of running record with clothing and the way we present ourselves,” Kelly, who lives in New York City, says. “My paintings are related to fashion, but at the same time, there’s something else at play.” Recently, Jonathan Anderson (@jw_anderson) discovered Kelly’s work. She had posted an illustration featuring one of his designs, and on Saturday at London Fashion Week, Kelly was asked to illustrate five looks from his latest collection. “Jonathan has said that each collection is a continuation of a story,” Kelly says. “I feel extremely honored to be involved as an artist, sharing work alongside runway looks people are seeing for the first time.”

Celebrating a Community of 400 Million

Tue, 09/22/2015 - 22:00

We are thrilled to announce that the Instagram community has grown to more than 400 million strong. While milestones like this are important, what really excites us is the way that visual communication makes the world feel a little bit smaller to every one of us.

Our community has evolved to be even more global, with more than 75 percent living outside of the US. To all the new Instagrammers: welcome! Among the last 100 million to join, more than half live in Europe and Asia. The countries that added the most Instagrammers include Brazil, Japan and Indonesia.

Instagrammers continue to capture incredible photos and videos from all corners of the earth (and even the solar system). We’ve seen inspiring moments like the first surface image of Pluto and Champions League celebrations, as well as striking locales like the white pools of Turkey and a Namibian desert ghost town. These are just a few of the more than 80 million photos per day shared on Instagram.

Also, a few notable names have joined Instagram in the last 100 million. The most followed accounts include David Beckham from the UK, Caitlyn Jenner from the US, Indonesia’s Raffi and Nagita, German soccer player Toni Kroos and South Korea’s T.O.P.

When Instagram launched nearly five years ago, 400 million seemed like a distant dream. Now, we continue to strive to improve Instagram — helping you experience the world through images and connect with others through shared passions.

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPfilltheframe Weekend Hashtag...

Mon, 09/21/2015 - 22:30

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPfilltheframe

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 #WHPfilltheframe, which asked participants to fill every inch of their photographs with interesting elements to create compositions with minimal empty space. Every Monday we feature some of our favorite submissions from the project, but be sure to check out the rest here.

Why My Photos Always Show Who I Really Am, by...

Mon, 09/21/2015 - 15:58

Why My Photos Always Show Who I Really Am, by @aaroncarpenter

Aaron is a Youth Ambassador for the UN International Day of Peace. For more stories from inspiring teens and other young influencers like Aaron, explore the #ForgiveForPeace hashtag, follow @forgiveforpeace on Instagram and check out For more snapshots from Aaron’s life, follow @aaroncarpenter on Instagram.

“#hellomynameis Aaron Carpenter (@aaroncarpenter). I am 16 years old and from Shreveport, Louisiana. Social media has helped me become a more social person in real life. I used to get so shy whenever people would recognize me from Instagram and come up to me on the street. Now I’m much more outgoing. When I do get nervous, I remind myself that my fans are people who love me, I love them and I’m really just talking to friends.

I want people to look at my photos and know that I’m real. I don’t ever want to show images of someone I’m not. I want to inspire my fans to do the same. The people you see in my photos and videos are my real friends, and they have big social media followings, too. My friends are my biggest motivators. We’re always pushing each other to do better, and be better people. We mentor each other. We give each other advice. We may be young, but we’re more mature than a lot of other people — and we’re businessmen. For example, we know the best time to post for every time zone and what days are the best days to post. We think about stuff like that.

My followers are young, a lot are around my age. They’re surrounded by a lot of hate on social media. I try to promote positivity in everything I do. A couple of days ago, I was thinking about what it means to be a ‘normal 16 year old.’ But then I realized that this is my first time being 16, so what is normal? I love my life, and it’s normal to me. We shouldn’t compare ourselves to other people. I don’t want my fans to compare themselves to other people, either. Peace online is as important as peace offline.”

Transforming For The Emmys with @uzoaduba For more real...

Mon, 09/21/2015 - 00:17

Transforming For The Emmys with @uzoaduba

For more real moments from Uzo’s life on and off camera, follow @uzoaduba on Instagram. For more faces from the 2015 Emmys, follow @televisionacad and explore the #emmys hashtag.

For award shows like the Emmys, actress Uzo Aduba (@uzoaduba) dresses up as the most glamorous version of herself. She may look different from the character she is known for playing, Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren on the Netflix show “Orange is the New Black,” but Uzo holds onto the character’s passionate spirit. “What I love about Suzanne is her honesty,” Uzo says. “She’s entirely herself, for better or worse, and stands inside her authenticity.” And that attitude is something the actress is also known for; Uzo’s intimate honesty on Instagram about her life has grown her a deeply engaged and dedicated fan base.

Ericca Fernandez (@ricofierce), an Australian artist and big-time fan, appreciates how close Uzo’s fans feel to her, and drew a “dedication piece” in Uzo’s honor. “I am mostly a portrait artist, so I am always drawn to people’s faces and their characters. I like to find something unique that stands out about them,” Ericca says. “Not only does Uzo have a gorgeous face, she seems to have a beautiful and down to earth personality, as well.”

Jenny Lewis and the Rainbow Airbrush Art of Adam Siegel To see...

Sun, 09/20/2015 - 16:21

Jenny Lewis and the Rainbow Airbrush Art of Adam Siegel

To see more of Adam’s art, check out @adamseagull on Instagram. For more music stories, head to @music.

It’s fitting that the first airbrushed piece artist Adam Siegel (@adamseagull) made and liked was a surfboard. For him, it evokes the world of his youth — sunshiny days, good vibes and tanned girls with ocean-tangled hair.

“That’s the stuff I grew up with — ‘70s surf and skater culture. I’ve always loved that style,” Adam says, sitting in front of a coffee shop. It’s a still, sweltering day, and this artsy Los Angeles neighborhood is way too far from the beach.

With Adam’s pieces, you can at least pretend there’s a sea breeze. For the past few years, he’s been transforming vanilla high-tops, sweatshirts and surfboards into every-flavor works of art. Just ask Jenny Lewis, who asked Adam to design the sherbet-hued blazer she wore on the cover of her 2014 album The Voyager as well as the truly rad full suit she donned on tour.

Adam grew up in L.A. and played in bands ever since he and some buddies covered Cheap Trick’s “Surrender” in a sixth grade talent show. Known as REV in the crew KSN (Kings Stop at Nothing), he also was in the first wave of New York-style graffiti artists to tag L.A. One of the city’s “greatest graffiti writers,” according to Complex, he drew murals for clubs and MTV. But when he was 18, his punk band Excel took off and he drifted away from art. For the past decade, he and his wife have had a busy set and production design team, Adam & Tina, but recently, he decided to dabble in painting again.

“With this, I sorta just picked up where I left off in the late ‘80s! I was airbrushing at that point, too. I’ll come up with the graphic I want, then I’ll draw it out, put acetate over that and cut stencils to lay out with spray glue. Then I’ll do some freehand airbrushing to fill in shading,” he explains. “I was really just doing it for fun. And still am, I guess.”

He and Jenny Lewis had known each other since the early 2000s, when he was in the band The Blondes and she was in Rilo Kiley. Another mutual friend, photographer Autumn de Wilde, was shooting the album cover and thought Adam’s airbrushing would look cool on a suit.

“[Airbrushing] clothes — well, any wrinkles will be like polishing a turd. You’re always gonna have this imperfection,” he instructs. “Usually I’m just happy if it comes out and I don’t f— it up. Do it where it’s not windy.” In other words, wear his stuff to the beach, but don’t try to recreate it there.

—Rebecca Haithcoat for Instagram @music

The Week on Instagram | 201 News Observer: A Village for...

Sun, 09/20/2015 - 16:13

The Week on Instagram | 201


Get Involved

Around the Community

On the Heels of California Wildfires with @stuartpalley To see...

Sun, 09/20/2015 - 01:25

On the Heels of California Wildfires with @stuartpalley

To see Stuart’s latest updates on wildfires in California, follow @stuartpalley on Instagram.

For Stuart Palley (@stuartpalley), fire has always been on the periphery of his life. A native of Newport Beach, California, he remembers being evacuated at the age of 4 by a wildfire that spread from nearby Laguna Beach. Now a 27-year-old photographer documenting fires in the region, Stuart is poised to drop everything at a moment’s notice for his work. “I’ve left my own birthday party early to go cover a fire,” he says. Stuart compares the severity of California’s fire risk due to drought to lighting a match. “It almost sounds like it, too. You know when you light a match it makes that whoosh kind of sound? That’s what happens when the brush lights on fire.” Working across seasons, in remote areas, and at all hours of night and day, Stuart also looks for artistic ways to capture California’s “fire regime,” a cycle of growth, burn and renewal. “I’m fascinated by the way fires burn and the way they work and how it’s, at the end of the day, something that’s natural.”

@agnesvita Wants to Change the Way You See Women To see more of...

Sat, 09/19/2015 - 16:01

@agnesvita Wants to Change the Way You See Women

To see more of Agnes’ photographs, follow @agnesvita on Instagram.

Agnes Lloyd-Platt (@agnesvita) wants to change the way you see people, especially women. “Beauty in magazines has been the same for years – similar faces pushing similar ideals – and people are looking for more these days. They want to see the wider spectrum of beauty,” the London-based photographer says. “And there is a whole facial landscape to explore.” Of course, casting the right model is key. Once she has her subject, Agnes typically works with makeup artists — or even plays that role herself — to highlight their features in interesting ways. “It’s natural for me to consider how the light fills spaces on a model’s face or how their eyelashes might cast shadows.” Plus, she says, “It means I get to explore the subject’s face before I even pick up the camera.”

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPfilltheframe Weekend Hashtag...

Fri, 09/18/2015 - 22:18

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPfilltheframe

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 fill every inch of your photographs with interesting elements to create compositions with minimal empty space. Here’s how to get started:

  • Find interesting subjects in the foreground, middle ground and background of your picture to create layers of information in your photograph.
  • Look for curved tree branches, open windows and other natural frames that you can use to fill the space around your subject. Try to incorporate portions of objects or people around the edges of your picture.
  • Experiment by moving closer or pulling back from your subject to see which perspective highlights the most detail and creates the most dynamic frame.

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

Penning Ideas and Sketches in One Commonplace Book with...

Fri, 09/18/2015 - 16:04

Penning Ideas and Sketches in One Commonplace Book with @ellbrt

For more photos of Ellina’s fountain pens and personal reference books, follow @ellbrt on Instagram.

Sure, all a writer needs is a pen and some paper, but Ellina T. (@ellbrt), a student living in France, finds far more joy in the writing process when she has one of her beloved fountain pens in hand. “A fountain pen really becomes a part of you the more you use it and take care of it. That’s why I’m so attached to my collection,” she says. Ellina pulls out one of her 20 fountain pens to take notes in class, but where the ink really pours is in her “commonplace book.” “Historically, a commonplace book is a way to record what a person learns and reads throughout their life,” she says. “My notebook contains all the things I find interesting in life or online — quotes from books, recipes, interviews with people, Spanish words, programming language syntax, anything. It’s my personal reference book.” She also writes down ideas that pop into her head and paints or sketches the things that surround her. “I put no limitations on things that can go into my notebook. It’s an ‘anything and everything’ notebook for me.”

The Art of @gangsterdoodles Features Rappers on Post-Its To see...

Thu, 09/17/2015 - 16:34

The Art of @gangsterdoodles Features Rappers on Post-Its

To see more Post-it note art from Marlon, check out @gangsterdoodles on Instagram. For more music stories, head to @music.

Plenty of people toil away at their day jobs thinking about all the other things they could be doing, but few make good on it — then again, not everyone has skills with a Sharpie like Marlon Sassy. The 29-year-old Vancouver, British Columbia, resident is the hand behind the popular account @gangsterdoodles, which features Post-it note sketches of rappers, actors and assorted pop culture iconography.

“Anything people needed, they’d come to me,” Marlon explains of the 9-year stint he spent as an office manager at a Canadian television production company, where he first began the work that is now being celebrated by the likes of Questlove and Tyler, The Creator, among others. “It was menial stuff — make some coffee, make some calls for people. It gave me a lot of flexibility to do what I wanted to do during the day.”

What Marlon wanted was an outlet for his visual art — paintings and drawings — which he made when he came home from work. The film school grad had already had a gallery show and found the traditional art scene unsettling. “Everyone is going, ‘What does this mean, what does that mean?’” he recalls. “I’m like, ‘I dunno, it’s a cool picture. That’s it.’ And then they go, ‘What do you mean, it doesn’t have a deeper meaning?’ And I’m like, ‘Not really.’”

He needed something else, something faster and more amenable to his “it’s not that deep” sensibility. Three years ago, using markers and Post-it notes, he began making quick five-minute drawings when he had free time at work. Slick Rick. Nicki Minaj. Lil Wayne. Radio Raheem. Childish Gambino. A$AP Yams. Others. Lots of others. All aquamarine and violets against soft yellow, they were imperfect enough to be amateur, but professional enough to pop.

“I posted a picture every day for a year and a half, not missing a day,” he says. “I still try to do that. I like doing it. It gives me something to do.”

It’s not like he doesn’t have the time. Last October, after selling a handful of prints and releasing two volumes of his collected works through art publisher Valley Cruise Press, he finally had enough money to quit his day job. Now, between commissioned work and the upcoming release of this third book, due in October, he’s drawing new art every day and focusing much more on merchandise — T-shirts, prints and pins.

“I like having control over what I’m doing,” he says. “You can sell your own stuff, make money off of it and you’re not answering to anyone. You make stuff, people buy it, that’s cool; if not, that’s cool too. I’m not making huge money so it’s not like I’m living in the lap of luxury. But I like this better than my old job. That means more than making a ton of cash. For me, it’s a way of becoming free.”

—Paul Cantor for Instagram @music

#LocalLens: Finding Peace in the Islands of Okinawa with...

Thu, 09/17/2015 - 15:57

#LocalLens: Finding Peace in the Islands of Okinawa with @sesokomasayuki

In this series, local Instagrammers show you their favorite places to shoot around where they live. To see more photos of Okinawa taken by Masayuki, follow @sesokomasayuki on Instagram.

This interview was conducted in Japanese.

After years of working long days and sleepless nights as an editor for a small publishing company in Tokyo, Masayuki Sesoko (@sesokomasayuki) decided to rethink the way he lived his life. He became an independent editor, packed up his things and moved to the southernmost island prefecture of Okinawa. And now, three years later, Masayuki shares some of his favorite spots to capture in the place where he started fresh for this edition of #LocalLens. “Okinawa is an area for resorts as well as for living,” he says. “Although it’s a part of Japan, it feels like another country in Asia, while also having an American feel.” The scenes he enjoys capturing the most are the tropical landscapes, artisan cafes, bakeries and the peaceful time out with his family. “Be it the sea, the sky, the flowers, the food — the southern islands are filled with vibrant colors and are incredibly photogenic. There are many great places to shoot, such as the ‘Tropical Beach’ in Ginowan, Kurima island, and cafes like ‘Kissa Niwatori’ and ‘Cafe Koku,’” says Masayuki. “For me, Okinawa is all about the abundant nature, the comfortable distance between people and the slow passing of time. I hope that my photos provide a sense of serenity to the people who see them.”

#todayimet with Singer Troye Sivan and Rapper Tkay Maidza To...

Thu, 09/17/2015 - 00:26

#todayimet with Singer Troye Sivan and Rapper Tkay Maidza

To see more photos of Troye and Tkay, check out @troyesivan and @tkaymaidza on Instagram. For more music stories, head to @music.

Singer Troye Sivan (@troyesivan) recorded “DKLA” (aka “Don’t Keep Love Around”) on a farm an hour outside of Sydney, at one of those all-encompassing studios where musicians go and live for a few days to work on their music. Bringing along two producers from his hometown of Perth, along with Alex, his songwriting partner, Troye had the same goal he always had going into a new project: write the best track he could.

“The boys were in the one room making a beat and they gave us some chords and then Alex and I went into the next room and started writing, and Alex came up with this one phrase, ‘Don’t Keep Love Around,’ and it just sounded like a beautiful story of somebody who had been hurt and just decided it was time to give up on love,” says Troye.

The rest of “DKLA” came together organically — additional synths, a syncopated beat — with Troye recording his vocals at 1 a.m. Still, it was missing something, and the song languished on his computer for a couple months before he knew what it needed.

“I started muttering under my breath while I was listening to it and was like, ‘Ah, it needs a rapper, it needs a female rapper. And it needs Tkay Maidza,‘” recalls Troye. “I am just such a huge fan of hers. I mean, it was a big ask. I am always gobsmacked when anyone is interested in doing anything I want to do. But we reached out and within two days she sent back this demo of her doing the rap into her laptop, and it was so sick and so good and so perfect and exactly how I’d hoped the verse would sound so she went into the studio a couple days later and put it down.”

Funny enough, it would be several months before the two would actually meet in person, which they finally did, this September, at a coffee shop in Sydney. For Troye, it was more than just meeting a collaborator — it felt like spending time with a good friend.

“She’s absolutely teeny-weeny and adorable and the sweetest person ever and such a talent,” says Troye, about Tkay (@tkaymaidza). “I definitely think there is something so personal about making music and we had done it long-distance, so to be able to meet and have this shared experience of this song on my EP, it’s just really, really cool. It’s a weird connection. It feels like we’ve known each other a lot longer than the hour we got to chill.”

The finished track fits perfectly within Troye’s EP Wild, which has been picking up accolades since its release earlier this month, including one from the Queen of Pop herself, Taylor Swift, who recently tweeted her approval.

“Oh my god, dude, it was like 1 a.m. I was walking home from a bar, and my friend, I literally thought someone had died from the face he had when he saw his phone because he saw it first,” says Troye. “I hardly slept that night. I also think [Taylor] was purposely messing with me because I didn’t get over it, but I was calmed down, and just as I was about to fall asleep she tweeted me again, like hours later. So I was like, now she’s definitely trying to rile me up.”

The feeling was cyclical for Troye, as Taylor’s 1989 came out a few weeks before he wrote Wild, and ended up being a major influence for him. While he’s now hard at work on finishing his first full-length record, he’s increasingly proud of the world he has crafted on the current EP — “DKLA” in particular.

“‘DKLA’ for me is such an important part of the EP as a whole, because the lyrics are really poetic — they are some of my favorite lyrics on the whole project,” he says. “I think it brings this mood to the whole body of work. It’s one of the coolest songs that I have ever written.”

—Instagram @music

@marigiudicelli on Walking in the @eckhaus_latta Show and...

Wed, 09/16/2015 - 23:07

@marigiudicelli on Walking in the @eckhaus_latta Show and Capturing its Details in Photographs

To see more of Mari’s photographs, follow @marigiudicelli on Instagram.

Minimal still life compositions aren’t the typical photos that models share from backstage. But Mari Giudicelli (@marigiudicelli) wanted to capture what she calls “less obvious” moments at this week’s Eckhaus Latta runway show in New York. “I try to show the real thing and how it’s not all glamour,” the 27-year-old from Brooklyn says. Eckhaus Latta (@eckhaus_latta), a four-year-old house led by Zoe Latta and Mike Eckhaus, cast professionals like Mari to walk the runway alongside artists such as Juliana Huxtable and Dev Hynes. “Eckhaus is definitely my favorite for their creativity,” Mari says. “The sculptural aspect of the clothes is really incredible. The industry needs more designers like them.”

Backstage and beyond, Mari’s photos are full of quirk and life. “I try to capture interesting compositions on diverse life situations such as artists’ studios and on the street.”

Magical Realism in Daily Life with @stephenedwardferry To see...

Wed, 09/16/2015 - 16:00

Magical Realism in Daily Life with @stephenedwardferry

To see more of Stephen’s striking pictures from Bogota and elsewhere, follow @stephenedwardferry on Instagram.

From a young age, Stephen Ferry (@stephenedwardferry) was well aware not only of photography’s appeal, but of its power.

“I’m pretty lucky because when I was really quite young, 12 or 13 years old, there was a photography store around the corner from my house, and they put up with me,” the 55-year-old photojournalist says. “I went there all the time and they showed me how to develop film and stuff. At the same time, when I was young, the war in Vietnam was a huge issue everywhere. I grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and there were riots and demonstrations against the war all the time. I learned about all of this through the photographs that came to our house in newspapers and in the pages of LIFE magazine. Those are the same extraordinary pictures that really had an influence on American society. I was already very interested in the news, and that was an occasion where photojournalism showed me that photographs can influence the course of things and play a role in informing people and exposing terrible things that were taking place.”

While he has traveled to dozens of countries in his career — covering armed conflicts, human rights and the environment — for the past decade and a half Stephen has been living in Colombia. Electing Bogota as a base for his work was a decision driven, paradoxically enough, by what he did not know: namely, how complex and fascinating his adopted country really is.

“I first came here to give a workshop to Latin American photographers in the late 1990s,” Stephen notes. “As it turns out, through their pictures, my colleagues in the workshop taught me a lot about the war that is taking place in Colombia and the human rights situation here. I didn’t really understand the gravity of it and the scale of it back then. I had always worked on issues of human rights, so at that point I decided I wanted to cover the unrest in this country — particularly because there’s this notion that the violence here stems only from issues around drug trafficking. The easy, simplistic idea that people often have is that this is a drug war, but it’s much, much more involved than that. Like so many places, Colombia’s conflict has long and deep historical roots. I set myself the task of trying to convey that, and it turned out to be far more complicated than I ever imagined.”

For someone who has seen much of the worst that human beings can inflict on one another, a strong streak of optimism (colored by, in Stephen’s words, “a lot of sadness”) remains in his approach to his work.

“One of the things that I really want to pursue as a photographer is to keep covering and communicating around the difficult subjects of conflict and violence, but also explore the many aspects of daily life, a kind of magical realist quality to life, that I find so wonderful here in Colombia,” Stephen says.

His profession, meanwhile, demands a certain amount of sacrifice. “I’m a photojournalist,” he says. “Certainly, I obey all the rules of the profession. Never set things up, don’t make false statements in captions, and so forth. But when you’re looking at awful things taking place in front of you, of course you hope that your pictures will wake people up, or will create a sense of concern. And on a few occasions there’s been the satisfaction of knowing that the work has actually helped to cast a strong light on these conflicts, and maybe even made things a little better.”