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Chasing a World Cup Dream with @sydneyleroux To see more...

Fri, 06/26/2015 - 14:26

Chasing a World Cup Dream with @sydneyleroux

To see more behind-the-scenes photos from Sydney Leroux, follow @sydneyleroux on Instagram. To keep up with the World Cup action, visit the hashtags #WWC and #USWNT.

She might be one of the world’s top soccer players, but off the field and on Instagram, Sydney Leroux (@sydneyleroux) likes to keep it light. “I want people to know that I like to have fun,” she says. “And no matter what your life looks like from the outside, pictures are a way to let people in and let people see that you are very normal. Except sometimes maybe I’m not so normal, but that’s part of the fun.”

Sixteen years ago, when she was just a little girl, Sydney watched on television as the US team won the 1999 Women’s World Cup. Now she and her teammates on the US Women’s national soccer team are three victories away from another title. “Now that you are here, you look back and say that everything was worth it,” says Sydney.

The US team faces China in one of today’s quarterfinal matchups. The winner will advance to the semifinals to play against either France or Germany next week. The final will be held July 5.

The Absurdity of Being Normal with @hombre_normal For more of...

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 19:09

The Absurdity of Being Normal with @hombre_normal

For more of Marc’s photos with The Normal Man, follow @hombre_normal on Instagram.

Does anyone want to be normal? Marc Torrell (@hombre_normal) does. For him, being normal is extraordinary. He started photographing his action figure “The Normal Man” in everyday situations because he wanted to vindicate normality. “What he does is never incredible — it could happen to anyone,” says Marc, a creative director in Barcelona whose humorous photo captions reflect the absurdity of being normal. “It’s the adventure of living your day by day.”

Marc believes the captions are just as important as the photos. Whether Normal Man “exasperates with the absurd queue at the Postal Service” or “is texting you” while sitting on the toilet, the result is perfectly normal — and very funny. He creates a story for each photo and some of Marc’s friends and family participate, too. The Normal Man has a girlfriend, a best friend who always picks on him and a mother. “The conversation around the photo allows you to go deeper into the story. I love responding to the comments and creating situations.”

Marc plans to grow old with The Normal Man. “This project, I believe I’ll be working on it till my last day,” he says. “I’d love to see The Normal Man get married in a normal wedding, have normal kids with normal problems, for his hair to turn gray.”

The Colorful Paintings of Artist and Musician...

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 16:23

The Colorful Paintings of Artist and Musician @sebastianblanck

To see more of Sebastian’s artwork, check out @sebastianblanck on Instagram. For more music stories, check out @music.

He does it in the affectionate paintings of his New York day-to-day: his children sleeping, his wife in the shower, their friends, their surroundings, life changing around them – as variously rendered in watercolor and stretched Japanese paper, with an audacious approach to pink and blue.

And he does it in his picturesque music: the harmonic chorales, the psychedelic folk psalms, the unplugged hymns of love and loss, as showcased on his first solo album, Alibi Coast.

This is the work of Sebastian Blanck (@sebastianblanck) – artist, musician and former member of Brooklyn electronic experimentalists Black Dice. As with much of Sebastian’s intimate, interconnected art, his lyrics and music conjure a series of paintings in which he depicts his wife, the artist Isca Greenfield-Sanders (“Don’t drown in modesty, I’ve seen through your nightgown,” he sings on the acid-folk lullaby “At Arm’s Length”), as well as other intimate moments around him.

“To me, what I want, more than anything, is for people to feel that they can enter into the images, or enter into the song, and feel like it’s a story that’s being shared, as opposed to being presented,” he says.

Does being a visual artist and a musician allow him to explore or express different emotions? “It does,” says Sebastian, who is currently working on a follow-up to Alibi Coast. “I think the paintings are a little more cheerful, while it’s easier to deal with darker emotions in music. I don’t know why that is, but I’m happy that I have two different modes of expression that allow me to explore different parts of myself, and hopefully connect with different people.”

There is something hugely personal yet universally resonant about Sebastian’s variegated art – from his accessible, big-hearted melodies, to the open faces of his portraits (which are more akin to film stills than posed images), to his uncannily familiar landscapes. He works in New York, but many of his scenes feel like mirror images of the Scottish Highlands, albeit embellished in dayglow shades.

“I wanted to keep the landscapes simplistic, but hopefully evocative of a real place,” says Sebastian. “They’re made with stretching paper, and the idea is that the material leads me or guides me – I try to leave it minimalist, to leave it up to chance. So the strips of mountains, the peaks, the curves – they’re all just where the paper tore.”

Sebastian adds that with his landscapes, he’s looking to do something in opposition to capturing specific facial expressions and emotions.

“I look at the landscapes and think of the Hudson River … or the place my wife and I have upstate,” he says. “It’s that simple construction of depth, where bands of color become land, water, hills, sky – and there can definitely be different interpretations of that. And they’re fun. It’s a nice relief, in a way, from trying to capture someone’s gesture.”

Sebastian’s use of color is particularly striking in his landscapes, which are rendered in pink and blue flushes. “Color is such an important part of painting, and you can do so much with the work,” he says. “You can basically have zero drawing, zero mark-making, and just have it all about that color. When I started doing landscapes, the first stages were just the color of the beautiful Japanese paper I was using, and it was really minimal – I wasn’t adding anything, I was just taking that material and setting up a landscape using a very simple language,” he recalls.

“But then I was like, ‘Well, what’s the next thing I could do?’ So I took the pink paper and painted it more pink, and I took the blue paper and painted it more blue. It’s like that stupid Spinal Tap thing, you know, ‘More black!’” he says with a laugh.

He wanted to turn the pink up to eleven? “Yeah, exactly!” And so he does.

– Nicola Meighan for Instagram @music

The Art of Less Is More with @lucidlines To see more of...

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 14:02

The Art of Less Is More with @lucidlines

To see more of Caitlin’s tattoo art, follow @lucidlines on Instagram.

“The science behind the process and the idea of being able to carry art around with you and transform your appearance has always intrigued me,” says 25-year-old tattoo artist Caitlin Thomas (@lucidlines). After studying graphic design, Caitlin went on to pursue illustration and the visual arts before taking an apprenticeship at a tattoo studio in Adelaide, South Australia.

“People may be surprised to learn that I only have a couple of tattoos,” she says. “Many people have the belief that all tattoo artists need to be covered, but I am trying to show that isn’t necessary anymore and that it is more about the art.”

Outside of her life as a tattoo artist, Caitlin is equally passionate about music, playing the drums in bands and writing music with friends. “Leading a double life has proven to be a tiring venture with a newfound respect for days off,” she muses. When applying for jobs, Caitlin showcased the drums she worked on with a wood-burning tool as an example of her steady line work.

Caitlin describes her style as “minimalism” and her technique is inspired by 18th and 19th century line engravings — the idea of grasping a concept or image using its basic form. “I am hoping to help create a new movement of tattooing that promotes the idea that less is more,” she says. “I do enjoy and respect the extremely detailed and colorful style of tattooing, but I just can’t deny the satisfaction of successfully portraying an image based only on line work, a single shade of ink and making use of the natural skin color that people bring in themselves.”

Now and Then: Going Behind the Scenes at @glastoofficial To see...

Wed, 06/24/2015 - 16:53

Now and Then: Going Behind the Scenes at @glastoofficial

To see more photos from this year’s Glastonbury Festival, explore the #glastonbury hashtag on Instagram. For more music stories, check out @music.

Let’s talk numbers: More than 100,000 music fans, 15,000 workers, 5,000 portable bathrooms and 10,000 hand-painted trash bins, dispersed throughout the grounds. It’s a far shot from what the Glastonbury Festival (@glastoofficial), which takes place every June in southwest England, was when it first started in 1970. The oft-told tale from that inaugural year: tickets cost one British pound and admission included free milk from its home on Worthy Farm. Things are a bit different now – there are more people, more bands (this year’s headliners include Kanye West and Florence and the Machine), more money and new exhibits. But the spirit has stayed the same.

“It’s never rested on its laurels,” says Emily Eavis, co-organizer of the festival – and the one standing in the middle of those bins up top. “Every year we dramatically add lots of things and take some things away and move it on and keep it completely fresh.”

–Instagram @music

Breakdowns on a Long Road Across America with @stacykranitz To...

Wed, 06/24/2015 - 14:05

Breakdowns on a Long Road Across America with @stacykranitz

To see more of Stacy’s photographs from the road, follow @stacykranitz on Instagram.

Stacy Kranitz (@stacykranitz) is an American photographer who was born in Kentucky, has a home in Los Angeles, and mostly lives on the road. She immerses herself in the lives of people that she forms enduring relationships with, blurring the lines between the professional and the personal, and the public and the private aspects of her own life. She explains her vision and her approach:

“At a very early age I was interested in documenting things. I kept elaborate journals with notes, photographs and documents glued inside. As I got older I wanted to make documentary films but it was a financial challenge and it seemed to take years to complete a project. I felt like I had to hide my work away from everyone until its completion and I did not like that. I started making photographs because they could be shared as individual images immediately and as part of a larger more involved project later. The photograph is more flexible in this way.

I’ve been living out of my car for years to make my work. I built a bed in the back. I will spend three or four months working on a project. I don’t sleep in my car all the time. I camp out and am often invited to stay in people’s homes. But the car functions as a safe and dependable space where I can stash equipment, food and clothing. I like to travel in the summer because the light is available until late in the evening. It is too hot to sit inside my car so I am forced to be outside engaging with strangers all the time and everyday.

I like to stay out as long as I can. I begin to slowly deteriorate the longer I am gone. Both the car and myself become physically more haggard as the weeks wear on. It sounds bad but this is the thing I want. I believe that I am not making really good work unless I am pushing myself into a very uncomfortable place. I don’t think I have gotten somewhere with the work unless I have pushed myself close to the brink of my own sanity. Breakdowns happen and then I pick up the pieces and continue on.

Right now I am working on a project about central Appalachia. This is the fifth year I have been working on it. I came to the region because I thought that if I went out and photographed each day, wandering amongst strangers and a strange land, I would be able to escape a darkness inside of myself. I wanted a personal connection to something. So I invented one through my experiences in a place I had not been before. I wanted to make something unknown familiar.

I make this work in an effort to question the world and myself. I make this work to push behind our desire to categorize people and their lives in terms of what is right and what is wrong. I make this work in an effort to embrace the murkiness in-between our notion of right and wrong. It is a process of constantly undoing everything I think I know. Building up an idea of a place and then tearing it apart.” –@stacykranitz

Telling Urban Stories from Venezuela with @revistanow To...

Wed, 06/24/2015 - 01:08

Telling Urban Stories from Venezuela with @revistanow

To discover more urban stories from Venezuela, follow @revistanow on Instagram.

(This interview was conducted in Spanish).

“What matters to me, what inspires me, is the people. That’s why I do so many portraits. I try to tell the story that no one sees, that no one knows and that no one wants to see,” says Ernesto Pérez (@revistanow), who works as editor at a digital magazine in Maracaibo, Venezuela.

Ernesto often takes pictures of public transport buses, which are colorful but overwhelming. “I live in a city where you get 112 degrees Fahrenheit [44 Celsius] at noon, so using public transport is a tough experience. I’m interested primarily in those feelings, in the expression of those on that transport system.”

“I take pictures of buses without air conditioning, where everyone is standing up. There’s an infernal heat. There are also other cars known as carros por puesto [public transport cars that fit up to 5 passengers], which are vehicles from the 50s that smell like gasoline,” Ernesto says.

Ernesto says his images represent a unique kind of beauty. “I’ve always thought that I’m disturbing people’s tranquility on their Instagram feed,” he says, adding, “I try to capture what it means to be in a city, I try to focus on people’s feelings. I like to get to know people on the streets. My city, my country is passing through a difficult moment and I am not trying to portray it in a bad light. I am trying to find beauty in places where it is difficult to find it.”

The All-New Search and Explore: See the World As It Happens

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 17:27

Today we’re excited to announce two major updates to Instagram that will help connect our community to the world as it happens: the all-new Explore page, with trending Tags and Places, and more powerful search that makes it easier to find the people, places, and tags you’re looking for.

With more than 70 million photos and videos posted to Instagram every day, wherever something is happening, chances are you can see it here. Whether it’s behind the scenes at the NBA Finals, on the runway with the latest fashion trend at a favorite club with a local band, people are capturing moments large and small on Instagram. But, until now, there’s never been an easy way to find these moments.

Reimagined Explore

We’ve completely reimagined the Explore page to make discovery on Instagram immediate and effortless. The new Explore now surfaces trends as they emerge in real-time, connecting you to events and conversations both near you and around the globe.

Through trending Tags and trending Places, you can experience moments like #bonnaroo or #fathersday from every perspective. Rich visual content captures everyone’s unique take — not just what the community is talking about, but also what they’re doing and seeing.

In addition, at the top of the Explore page you will find new curated collections that will be updated regularly, featuring interesting accounts and places, from musicians and extreme athletes to stunning architecture and gorgeous beaches.

To start, these updates to Explore will only be available in the United States. We’ll work to bring it to the rest of the world after we fine tune the experience and set it up to work well in other countries.

Improved Search

For everyone on Instagram, we’ve dramatically improved the ability to find what you’re looking for. With the new Places Search, you can now peer in at just about any location on earth, allowing you to scout out your next vacation spot in the South Pacific, get a look inside that hot new restaurant or experience your favorite music festival — even if you couldn’t make it this year. The new Top Search also lets you search across people, places and tags all at once.

To learn more about the all-new Search and Explore, check out the Instagram Help Center.

Instagram for iOS version 7.0 is available today in Apple’s App Store, and Instagram for Android version 7.0 is available today in Google Play.

Act Natural: The Portraits of Music Photographer @tomspray To...

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 16:34

Act Natural: The Portraits of Music Photographer @tomspray

To see more of Tom Spray’s music photography, check out @tomspray on Instagram. For more music stories, check out @music.

There’s this one shot of Interpol. The image is monochrome, head-on, austere and if its striking shadow dance evokes the music of the band, then so too does it reflect the vision of the man behind the camera.

England-raised, Denmark-based music photographer Tom Spray (@tomspray) has photographed everyone from Pussy Riot to the Rolling Stones. Despite the breadth of his work, his portfolio has recurring themes, like spontaneity, nature and – as with Interpol – intimacy.

“I like to capture a natural expression on people,” says Tom, who has just returned from an assignment for the music website Pitchfork that saw him tasked with snapping “portrait, candid and atmospheric shots” at Spain’s Primavera festival. That’s where he ensnared Interpol (among others) – but not before he captured Tyler, The Creator, looking all in-your-face, up close and pensive.

Did Tom have time to bond with Tyler before he raised the lens? “God no,” he says with a laugh. “Tyler arrived about 30 minutes before his set, and I think he was trying to recreate some sort of Compton hanging-out-on-the-front-porch vibe with his crew. So I just approached him and asked if I could take a few frames. It was against this really ugly concrete backdrop and there was absolutely zero light. I did it all within about 30 seconds, but I hope I still captured who Tyler, The Creator is – albeit within a very short frame.”

Tom’s portraits are deceptively casual. He prefers to snap mid-conversation, rather than setting up elaborate poses. (Which is just as well, as he’s rarely granted the chance for the latter on festival shoots.) In doing so, he effectively catches people unaware, and they reveal something in return.

“I’ve been doing quite a lot of tight framing and low depth of field on individuals recently,” he says. “That gives you this extremely intimate vibe. It’s almost like me with my lens pressed up against your face, which is extremely intrusive, but at the same time you capture a sort of vulnerability about a person when you break down a barrier like that.”

Perhaps that’s what’s so remarkable about the Interpol shot: they appear closer, their features larger. They seem less untouchable.

“Again, the Interpol shot was very rushed,” recalls Tom. “Daniel [Kessler] the guitarist was very ill, and there was this whole media circus around, trying to get them to say a few words on camera. It was all very chaotic.” None of this is evident in the photograph. Its atmosphere appears to be one of absolute calm. “That’s the beauty of photography,” he nods.

Interpol has long drawn comparisons with Joy Division, whose bleak aesthetic was infamously captured in monochrome by Anton Corbijn. Is he a reference point of sorts for Tom? “Yeah, Anton Corbijn’s someone I have a lot of respect for,” he says. “And Annie Leibovitz, especially her ‘70s and ‘80s stuff.”

Tom’s style and approach is entirely his own, but there are shades of Leibovitz’s ‘80s-era flair for bold color in his work – particularly a bright and surprisingly floral portrait of Swedish pop livewire Robyn.

“I took that at Pitchfork Festival in Paris in 2012,” recalls Tom. “I got to build my own studio on-site, so it was taken under controlled lighting. Robyn was extremely easy to work with – you don’t really have to direct her – she’s quite playful and goes with the flow. We gave her a bouquet of flowers …” She wields them like a weapon.

Tom’s photos often raise a smile – Robyn’s floral arsenal; Black Lips’ leery, wine-wielding all-nighter – but few are more heartening than his portrait of blues and funk troubadour Charles Bradley, his smiling eyes brimming with tales untold. “That’s one of my favorite shots from last year,” Tom offers. “It was at Primavera again, but he came up to my hotel room, and we just hung out for half an hour. We chatted much more than I took photos.”

Tom’s love for seizing spontaneous moments works well in the live arena too – from a picture of Syrian street-folk star Omar Souleyman with the jumping masses reflected in his mirror sunglasses, to a mid-mosh pit shot during the Roskilde Festival set of black metal band Hexis.

“It’s pretty much all down to light and luck,” says Tom with a laugh. What he does not say is that it takes a patient hand to capture a person’s essence; that it takes a brave man to square up to Tyler, The Creator; that it takes a keen eye to capture the magic of music. But seeing is believing.

– Nicola Meighan for Instagram @music

@eugenia_loli Makes Vintage Collages with a Futuristic Twist To...

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 14:02

@eugenia_loli Makes Vintage Collages with a Futuristic Twist

To see more of Eugenia’s vintage-inspired collages, follow @eugenia_loli on Instagram.

“I became very sick in the 2000s. After four years as a tech journalist, I couldn’t work anymore,” remembers Eugenia Loli (@eugenia_loli), a San Francisco Bay Area resident with Greek roots. Art came to Eugenia naturally when she was spending all her time at home. She first got into experimental filmmaking and then turned to collaging.

With a love for futuristic sci-fi art, film and old magazines, Eugenia has collected around 750 vintage magazines. The retro imagery serves as a source of inspiration and builds the foundation of her surreal and sarcastic collages. “Such vintage images look like a painting compared to the more accurate digital images of today,” Eugenia explains. What sprang up out of necessity turned into a full time profession for Eugenia, who recovered from her illness in 2011. “When my health got restored, my art truly flourished,” she recalls. “Sometimes I feel they go hand in hand.”

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPlowaltitude Weekend Hashtag...

Mon, 06/22/2015 - 19:18

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPlowaltitude

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 #WHPlowaltitude, which asked participants to capture creative photos and videos from a low vantage point. Every Monday we feature some of our favorite submissions from the project, but be sure to check out the rest here.

Playfully Building Strange Worlds with @cintapinta To discover...

Mon, 06/22/2015 - 14:01

Playfully Building Strange Worlds with @cintapinta

To discover more of Cinta’s strange worlds and visual games, follow @cintapinta on Instagram.

(This interview was conducted in Spanish).

“My art is a visual game. I’m fascinated by it, and I can spend hours building these strange worlds,” says Cinta Vidal (@cintapinta), a painter and illustrator from Cardedeu, in the northeast of Spain. “It’s a passion of mine to look for combinations and to give, in one image, so many possibilities of people, life and space.”

Cinta takes photos throughout her creative process to show how she develops a piece from scratch. “It’s good that people are able to see the beginning and the end of the process as the sketching step alone represents a lot of work,” she says.

“I’m always looking at my surroundings. I like architecture, I like spaces,” she shares. “For me, it’s very interesting to investigate not only architectural spaces, but also nature.”

Cinta says her work has a clear message: “It tries to explain that we all live in the same world, but understand it in a different way. We perceive it from a different point of view. We may share it, but at the same time we are far away from each other, at least from our internal point of view.”

The No Longer Reluctant Father, @mrtoledano To see more of...

Sun, 06/21/2015 - 19:02

The No Longer Reluctant Father, @mrtoledano

To see more of Phillip Toledano’s explorations of self, family and society, follow @mrtoledano on Instagram.

For 18 months following his daughter’s birth in 2010, conceptual artist and self-described pathological contrarian Phillip Toledano (@mrtoledano) created a collection of photos that he called “The Reluctant Father.” The series chronicled what he described as his metamorphosis “from detached observer to eager participant.” What began as cold photos of a screaming newborn gave way to portraits exuding love and tenderness.

“It’s very odd to look back and see a time when I had no emotional connection to Loulou, because I love her so much now,” Phillip says today.

Phillip’s photo and video portraits of Loulou (who he describes as a willing, if sometimes begrudging, participant) subtly capture not only the continued evolution of their relationship, but also of her as a human. “She’s very much an artist herself. Ever since she was very small, she’s always been remarkably aware of the world around her.”

Loulou also represents a convergence of two different themes in Phillip’s work: a long-standing concern with sociopolitical issues, and a recent tack toward the deeply personal. His ongoing “Louniverse” project, for example, explores children’s relationship with technology through videos of Loulou rapt in the glow of an iPad. “That work is filled with unspoken questions,” says Phillip.

“All Good Music Should Tell a Story”: Going Global with House...

Sun, 06/21/2015 - 16:31

“All Good Music Should Tell a Story”: Going Global with House Duo @taleofus

To see more of Tale of Us and their journeys around the world, check out @taleofus on Instagram. For more music stories, check out @music.

“All good music should tell a story.”

That’s the philosophy behind the beautifully brooding builds of Berlin’s deep house duo Tale of Us (@taleofus). Each groove they create captures a time, a place, a person or a feeling in their lives. But what is the story behind the story? What is the tale of Tale of Us?

With more than 150 gigs in the last year alone, theirs is an adventure taken all over the globe. From the busy streets of Tokyo to the Coachella Valley, from dusty dunes to ancient spires and everything in between, Tale of Us have seen – and tasted – much of what this world has to offer.

For those with wanderlust, a professional DJ career is a pot of gold. If Tale of Us’ Karm Conte or Matteo Milleri want to journey to a far-off land, they’ve only got to find the right booking – and when you’re one of underground house’s brightest burning stars, your shine reaches nearly every dark corner and club under the sky.

The pair recently made a stop in Tokyo to spread their love of house, take some pics and slurp more than their fair share of ramen.

“Both of us are very inspired by the Japanese culture, so it was a must to go play there,” they say in a joint email interview. “We’ve been impressed by the sea of buildings you can see from above, but also by the food we had. We had some next level ramen we won’t forget, but also some great sushi, and also had the chance to try Kobe beef.”

Of course, you can’t always let your stomach decide your fate. Tale of Us make some romantic beats, and also wear their hearts on their sleeves. For instance, they recently traveled to Cape Town on a tour with Bridges for Music, a nonprofit that gathers electronic artists to bring music and awareness to strengthen developing nations.

“Cape Town was clearly one of the most amazing places we’ve been to,” they say. “The city itself and everything around is incredible, a mix of Europe and Africa that you can’t find anywhere else. We had no idea house music was such a huge thing there. In the townships, every kid wanted to be a DJ, so it felt very natural to do our best to help them fulfill their dreams.”

To capture their journeys, Karm and Matteo often team up with friends. Recently, they’ve hit the road with famed music photographers Richard Bellia and Christian Lamb (@cthelamb). Their manager has also developed some “serious” smartphone picture skills over the years. These moments in time serve not only as a means for fans to connect with the mobile music men, but also to remind Tale of Us of the magic they find along the way.

Back in Berlin, they hone these sights, sounds and experiences into sonic snapshots. Those tracks then fly around the world on airwaves, in mixes, on radio, flowing from headphones into ears all over the globe. In that way, the music and the memories become the shared experience of everyone. It’s a sound that truly becomes the Tale of Us.

–Kat Bein for Instagram @music

The Week on Instagram | 188 News Huffington Post:...

Sun, 06/21/2015 - 14:18

The Week on Instagram | 188


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Life in the Pastures with @freegrassfarmer and...

Sat, 06/20/2015 - 19:16

Life in the Pastures with @freegrassfarmer and @shefarmsinfreeunion

To see more photos and videos of life on the farm with Joel and Erica, follow @freegrassfarmer and @shefarmsinfreeunion on Instagram.

Before breakfast each morning, husband and wife Joel Slezak (@freegrassfarmer) and Erica Hellen (@shefarmsinfreeunion) have hundreds of mouths to feed. All the chickens, ducks, cows and pigs on their small farm near Charlottesville, Virginia need food and water before anything else. Plus, the temperature in the brooder needs adjusting for the baby chicks, the hens need moving to fresh grass and the pigs need to be accounted for. “They’re total escape artists,” Joel jokes.

For Joel and Erica, a life connected to the land is richly rewarding. But it’s manual and it’s tough. “The cows don’t leave and the chickens don’t just die when we’re tired. We simply have to keep going until the work is done,” Erica says. “I think what keeps us going is knowing that what we’re doing is a truly viable and better alternative to the factory food system,” Joel adds. “When customers come up and just pour their heart out on why raising this type of food is important and why it means so much to them, it does keep us going.

@boltelectricsound and the Art of the Vintage Guitar Pickup To...

Sat, 06/20/2015 - 16:29

@boltelectricsound and the Art of the Vintage Guitar Pickup

To see more of James’ vintage guitars, amps and pickups, check out @boltelectricsound on Instagram. For more music stories, check out @music.

“A good old instrument to me feels like a neighborhood bar that’s been around for years,” says James Alexander (@boltelectricsound), who spends his free time making custom guitar pickups and repairing amps out of his home in Knoxville, Tennessee. “It’s got a spirit to it and a history that I like. Every time I work on a great piece of equipment I just think of how lucky I am. I get to fix it, play it to make sure it works, sit with it as long as I want and then I give it back. I don’t have to own it. I used to buy and sell this stuff all the time because I could never decide what I wanted. But now, people just bring it to me and I get to try it out. They’re appreciative and I’m appreciative and it works out.”

No surprise that James is big on the old stuff – worn-in, classic equipment that was made to last. He even learned the old-fashioned way, teaching himself how to fix things thanks to a soup-to-nuts textbook.

“I had no formal electronics experience, so I ended up getting an old naval electronics book,” he says. “And the thing was so good because it is dumbed down. It’s like ‘electricity is like water and water comes from the sky.’ It starts at the very bottom. I have never taken a class on it, to tell you the truth. It’s really just been trial and error.”

– Instagram @music

Meet @themertailor: The Karl Lagerfeld of the Underwater...

Sat, 06/20/2015 - 14:07 #themertailor

Meet @themertailor: The Karl Lagerfeld of the Underwater World

To see more of Eric’s colorful mermaid tails, follow @themertailor on Instagram.

Using garbage bags and duct tape, Eric Ducharme (@themertailor) created his first mermaid tail at age seven, inspired by watching the underwater mermaid shows at Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs. “From the first moment I saw a ‘real live mermaid,’ I knew I was going to be doing something for the rest of my life that involved mermaids,” Eric remembers.

His grandmother taught him how to sew, and, aiming for a realistic looking tail, he started experimenting with different materials like spandex and rubber. “For me it was all about trial and error,” Eric says. “My weekly allowances went to making mermaid tails!” Now, 17 years later, Eric runs his own business, producing handcrafted mermaid tails for a living. Between sculpting, mold-making, airbrushing and answering emails from clients in Australia, Eric says there’s never a dull moment being a ‘mertailor.’ “It is quite the day, I have to tell you!”

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPlowaltitude Weekend Hashtag...

Fri, 06/19/2015 - 19:02

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPlowaltitude

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 creative photos and videos from a low vantage point to view the world from a different perspective than we normally see it. Some tips to get you started:

  • We become accustomed to seeing our environment from a particular elevation — our own height. Imagine what the world might look like to an infant or an animal that moves closer to the ground.
  • Lie down and look up, or place your camera to face upward to see from a different angle.
  • As you maneuver into new spaces, focus not only on the new things around you, but also on the new perspective you’ll have on things that are familiar.

PROJECT RULES: Please add the #WHPlowaltitude hashtag only to photos and videos taken 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 this weekend is eligible to be featured Monday morning.

Photographing Sound with @rogeriosoeiro To see more of...

Fri, 06/19/2015 - 14:10

Photographing Sound with @rogeriosoeiro

To see more of Rogerio’s music photographs, follow @rogeriosoeiro on Instagram. For more Brazil stories, check out @instagrambrasil.

(This interview was conducted in Portuguese.)

There is nothing still about the images São Paulo music photographer Rogerio Soeiro (@rogeriosoeiro) captures of hip hop performers. “I like shooting hip hop because it gives the photographs a sense of movement,” says Rogerio, who doubles as a DJ with his musical partner Eric Cunha (@ericneww).

Rogerio began shooting live music when he was 18. “I was inspired to shoot shows because it was a way to combine two of my passions: music and photography.” Among those who he most admires, Rogerio cites his grandfather and the artist Drake (@champagnepapi), who he dreams of photographing one day. “My grandfather was the one who introduced me to photography. He was a photographer and would let me play with his old cameras as a kid.”

Through his photographs of live performances, Rogerio hopes to somehow express sound. “I want people to feel the vibration of that moment. This way, photography and sound really blend together in an image.” Capturing the beat of each musician through individual portraits is also very important to him: “I am really interested in exposing the identities of these musical artists. Every single one of them.”