Before Danielle Villasana (@davillasana) found her professional path, she roamed the world. At 18, she waitressed in her home state of Texas to support months abroad in Europe and Africa. “I was in West Africa and I started to really grapple with the question of what can I do as a person to try to make this world a more equal, just and fair place,” says Danielle, now 30, whose experience in the region compelled her to pursue photojournalism as a career. Recently, she was on assignment for The New York Times, highlighting five of their “52 Places to Go in 2017.” “Travel can really open up your mind to how others live around the world,” says Danielle of her work on the project. “It’s so important to have those cultural exchanges with people so that we realize that collectively, as a human race, we have so much more in common with each other than differences. I try to express that most places are actually very safe and full of friendly people.” Check out @nytimestravel to see more from “52 Places to Go in 2017.” Photo by @davillasana
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Traveling photographer Piku (@xxpiku) doesn’t need any reflective props for his subjects when nature provides them all on its own. #WHPreflections Photo by @xxpiku
“Upside down and right side up,” writes Carla (@carlaeez) in the caption to her #WHPreflections submission. Follow along to see more of our favorite submissions to last weekend’s hashtag project. Photo by @carlaeez
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Frida, a rescued Ibizan hound, and her human Miriam Behrendt (@tangoandfrida), took shelter from an approaching storm in a canola field. “We were on a walk and she instantly went there to hide from the weather,” says Miriam. #TheWeekOnInstagram Photo by @tangoandfrida
With the blue hour waning along France’s Atlantic coast, a horse and rider passed by Pascale Fourteau (@halluci_nantes) as she took in the view. “The sound of the ocean empties my head and the sunset calms me,” she says. #TheWeekOnInstagram Photo by @halluci_nantes
Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPreflections Mirror, mirror, on the wall! This weekend, the goal is to take photos and videos of reflections, both man-made and naturally occurring. Here are tips to get you started: Notice reflections in all different surfaces around you. Whether it’s a freshly polished mirror, a cup of coffee or a smooth lake, there are reflections ready to be captured everywhere. Play with different forms of photography. A reflection that’s full of life and motion is an opportunity to experiment with Boomerang, reverse video or Hyperlapse. Pay attention to light and how it changes throughout the day. This will affect the brightness, quality and movement of the reflections you see around you. PROJECT RULES: Please add the #WHPreflections hashtag only to photos and videos taken over this weekend and only submit your own visuals to the project. If you include music in your video submissions, please only use music to which you own the rights. Any tagged photo or video taken over the weekend is eligible to be featured next week. Featured photo by @ycxxxoy
“On the second night of our boat trip, the sea went rough and our boat leaked. One of the pumps stopped working and water was pouring in faster than the single pump could take out. The boat was floating in the sea like a matchbox.” Looking back at this photograph, photojournalist Barat Ali Batoor (@bbatoor) recalls his perilous journey in 2012 across the Indian Ocean, seeking refuge from Pakistan. Batoor is Hazara, a marginalized ethnic group from Afghanistan, his parents’ birth country. He grew up in Pakistan, but moved to Afghanistan to work as a photojournalist. However he found himself targeted in both countries for his ethnicity and his profession and was forced to flee. “I am far from my family, but Melbourne is my home now,” says Batoor, who, after nine months in Indonesia, was relocated to Australia through the UN refugee agency’s resettlement program. “I have been welcomed warmly here. Taking photos of everyday life is important for me now, because when I look back, I see what we had and what we have lost. #WhereIComeFrom, life was uncertain. You never knew whether you would come back home safe.” Watch our Instagram story to see more photographs of the global refugee crisis, installed in the streets of Melbourne, by the photojournalism collective Dysturb (@dysturb). Photo by @bbatoor
Lake Garlate became even more picturesque when a swan drifted by. “I grew up on the shores of this lake, nestled among the beautiful mountains,” says Manuela Riva (@bellavitamanu) of her hometown in the Italian Alps. “I love to travel all around the world, but only here do I really feel at home.” #WHPhomesweethome Photo by @bellavitamanu
Picture this: 6-year-old Ashima Shiraishi (@ashimashiraishi) is playing in New York City’s Central Park when for the very first time she spots people rock climbing. “I was immediately intrigued,” says Ashima, now 16, who’s often referred to as one of the world’s strongest climbers. Today, the NYC-native travels the world to conquer new challenges — Japan, Thailand and South Africa are three of her favorite locations where she’s bouldered and climbed — and she continues to stay on top as a champion, while constantly progressing by connecting to each and every movement. “You need to be graceful, but also powerful, like no other sport. And that’s something that really motivates me to keep on pushing myself.” To see what a day in Ashima’s life is like, watch our Instagram story.
Today, we’re introducing face filters, an easy way to turn an ordinary selfie into something fun and entertaining. Whether you’re sitting on the couch at home or you’re out and about, you can use face filters to express yourself and have playful conversations with friends. Simply open the camera and tap the new face icon in the bottom right corner. Tap a filter to try it on and send it to your friends or add it to your story. They even work with Boomerang! Also today, we’re rolling out three new creative tools. Make videos that play in reverse with “Rewind,” add context to your story with a hashtag sticker and get creative with the eraser brush. Instagram has always been the place you can go to turn regular moments into something you can’t wait to share. Now, you have more fun and easy ways to express yourself and connect with the people you care about most. To learn more about today’s updates, check out help.instagram.com. These updates are available as part of Instagram version 10.21 for iOS in the Apple App Store and for Android in Google Play.
Growing up in Kampala, Uganda, soccer was the after-school event all the kids looked forward to, says Joel Nsadha (@joelnsadha). “We just played and played and played.” #WHPhomesweethome Follow along to see more of our favorite submissions to last weekend’s hashtag project. Photo by @joelnsadha
French illustrator Inès Longevial (@ineslongevial) honors her inspirations, fashion, patterns and cuts in every project. She also believes in the power of sharing her artistic process, often showing pieces that are incomplete or in their infancy. “It’s a way to expose my work,” says Inès, who lives in Paris. “It shows the common thread of my art — the link that operates between painting and drawing, forms and colors. Most of the time, I am not afraid to show my work unfinished, because I think people appreciate sincerity. It forces me to renew myself.” To see more of Inès’s work, check out our Instagram story right now. Photo by @ineslongevial
“There was just this puffin and me,” says Karl Steinegger (@karl_steinegger), of this moment he shared in Dyrhólaey, Iceland, near the Reynisfjara beach rock formations. “He looked at me and I looked at him.” #TheWeekOnInstagram Photo by @karl_steinegger
“We used to refer to our family as a pop-up family because that’s really what we were,” says @fostermoms, two lesbian moms who originally were emergency foster parents, taking care of children who needed unplanned, short-term care. After fostering “Tiny” and “Sweet,” two brothers who came to their home two years ago as an infant and a toddler, they decided to adopt them. “It is a privilege,” they say of raising their family. “It’s about being this person in the lives of these kiddos who gets to be a part of their process, to guide them and be a part of the wonder that unfolds — to be present for the challenges and work through the stuff that is going to come up.” And the moms are learning from their kids: “They’ve taught us to just slow down and pay attention, and to appreciate them for who they are, for where they come from.” #MothersDay Photo by @fostermoms
Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPhomesweethome There’s no place like home. This weekend, the goal is to celebrate home in all its forms — the people, the places, the things — and what makes them feel special. Here are some tips to get started: Take a portrait of your parents, siblings or the loved ones you grew up with. Work to tell their story in a single photograph. Notice the little details. Whether it’s your mother’s favorite books lined up on the shelf, the table that you’ve eaten dinner around since you were a child or a tire swing in the front yard, consider the specific elements that make it feel like home. Get creative with video to capture the smells, sounds and tastes of your hometown. How can you show what you would otherwise have to be there to experience? PROJECT RULES: Please add the #WHPhomesweethome hashtag only to photos and videos taken over this weekend and only submit your own visuals to the project. If you include music in your video submissions, please only use music to which you own the rights. Any tagged photo or video taken over the weekend is eligible to be featured next week. Featured photo by @sarahwilkerson
Alongside veteran photographer Q. Sakamaki, Tokyo-based photographer AKO (@akolonic_) co-founded @everydayjapan, a collective whose members expose the reality behind day-to-day life in the country. Their photography covers difficult, and often underrepresented, societal issues. With a background in graphic design, and as the sole non-journalist in the collective, AKO takes a spontaneous approach to her photography. “I would never go out on the weekend looking to take photos deliberately for Instagram,” she says. “I’d rather just capture a slice of my daily life. If I’m photographing a flower, I wouldn’t buy one, take it back home and display it carefully. I’d just snap a flower that happened to be in the street.” She’s currently on a mission to showcase a version of Japan that is free of oversimplified preconceptions — it’s part of “Unseen Everyday Japan,” an exhibit currently at the Japan Foundation in Sydney, Australia. Photo by @akolonic_