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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Paralympian Beatrice Vio’s (@bebe_vio) relationship with fencing started at age 5. “It was love at first sight,” says the gold medalist, now 20, from Venice, Italy. In 2008, Beatrice contracted meningitis, which resulted in the amputation of both legs from the knee and both arms from the forearm, with severe scarring to her face and body. “Getting back into fencing was the only thing I had on my mind,” she says. “Some people said it was impossible, but I did it!” Today, Beatrice competes in wheelchair fencing, using a special prosthetic device, created by her father, to hold her foil (a fencing weapon). “In wheelchair fencing, you can’t move backward — you can only attack,” she says. “This is the same thing that you have to do in life, and I always do.” This post is in celebration of Women’s History Month. Throughout March, we’ll be highlighting the stories of women doing extraordinary things around the world. Photos by @bebe_vio
InstaMeets have been a part of our community since the very early days of Instagram. They are gatherings of people who come together to connect over their shared passions and experiences. And Worldwide InstaMeet 15 (#WWIM15❤️) is happening this weekend, March 25-26! Join tens of thousands of people around the world to share, explore and celebrate while spreading this InstaMeet’s theme: kindness. Our features like Instagram Stories and Instagram Live offer even more opportunities to get creative and capture your experience in real time. Browse #WWIM15❤️ throughout the weekend to explore communities around the world, and check in on Monday for a look back at some of our favorites. To find an InstaMeet near you, check out community.instagram.com. Photo by @thiagolbrito
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“Yo what up! I’m Liza Koshy (@lizakoshy) and I’m just a little brown girl with big dreams in a big tree. One of those dreams has been to simply spread some good ol’ positivity. It’s been a blessing to spread it around online. I found an awesome community of people who have the same dad-joke humor, same positive morals and appreciation for laughter. That’s a community I’m down to chill with. If I could take my 10.4 million followers out for pizza, I would ... (as long as one of them paid for it). **Three more things I’m grateful for:** 🙌 @daviddobrik. My boyfriend, who’s a pretty cute inspiration of mine. He is the most positive, kind and cute (did I say that yet?) human being. You can follow him ... but he has a girlfriend. 🙌 @humansofny is incredibly real. It makes me tear up, and crack up. Anyone can appreciate how they spread stories, spread insight and spread kindness. 🙌 @charitywater puts a face to such an important cause. Giving and helping where you’re able to see the impact made across the world. It’s freaking beautiful. If you could give a 🙌 to three Instagram accounts who support or inspire you, who would they be? Post using #🙌🙌🙌 for a chance to be featured on Instagram.
Last September, we made a commitment to the community to keep Instagram a safe place for everyone. This year we will continue to act on that commitment and also focus on fostering kindness. The first step is to celebrate the kindness our community is already known for. On March 25 and 26, Instagrammers will come together for Worldwide InstaMeet 15. Join an InstaMeet near you — or spread kindness by leaving an encouraging comment, giving an inspiring person a like or sharing a message of support with a friend. As part of our goal to build a safe environment, we also have some updates to announce. Soon you may notice a screen over sensitive photos and videos when you scroll through your feed or visit a profile. While these posts don’t violate our guidelines, someone in the community has reported them and our review team has confirmed they are sensitive. This change means you are less likely to have surprising or unwanted experiences in the app. If you’d like to see a post that is covered with a screen, simply tap to reveal the photo or video. We also have developed a new, easy-to-use site where you can learn about keeping yourself safe on Instagram. Check out instagram-together.com for more information. Our teams are focused on making Instagram a kind, welcoming place for everyone, and we’re just getting started. Kevin Systrom Co-founder & CEO
While exploring the light and shadow of a structure by Catalan architects Enric Miralles and Carme Pinòs, Valle García (@valleklau) was struck by two thoughts. “We are alive, and we are still young,” she says. “These architects understood and accepted the cycle of life as a link between past, present and future.” #WHPyoungatheart Photo by @valleklau
Growing up in Vicenza, in northeastern Italy, Davide Pretto’s (@dvdprtto) fondest childhood reflections are intertwined with historical architecture. “My favorite memories are when my father carried me on his shoulders visiting some place. It was a moment to share an experience with him and look at the world from another point of view: on top.” #WHPyoungatheart Photo by @dvdprtto
If you’re in Tokyo on Sunday, March 26, be sure to head to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. There, teacher Hai Huynh, one half of @notesofnomads, will be co-hosting a #WWIM15❤️ where people will be creating intricate origami cherry blossoms to photograph and gift to strangers — it’s perfectly aligned with this Worldwide InstaMeet’s theme: kindness. “Everybody loves receiving flowers, and being the creative community we are, I believe that learning and making origami flowers with others will be a fun and unique opportunity,” says Hai. “It costs next to nothing, is very interactive and coincides with the coming of cherry blossom season here in Tokyo.” Hai is a big believer in the power of an InstaMeet, a gathering of people who come together to connect through shared experiences. “My favorite part is being able to meet wonderful people from all walks of life who share the same passion and sense of creativity and forming true friendships.” Watch our Instagram story right now to see more. Photo by @notesofnomads
Spotted in the Philippines: Timothy Genesis (@thykopi) laughs as he and a friend are knocked down by a playful wave. #WHPyoungatheart Follow along as we feature more of our favorite submissions to last weekend’s hashtag project. Photo by @thykopi
March 20 marks Nowruz, the #PersianNewYear and the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. For Iranian photojournalist Majid Saeedi (@majidsaeedi), the 13-day holiday marks some of his sweetest childhood memories, like family gatherings around tasty meals and sweet treats, participating in traditional ceremonies and picnicking outside on the final day. “It is a family holiday and spending a while with my family is the best memory that I have from Nowruz,” he says. Photo by @majidsaeedi
Communities of pushpins, pencils and erasers at odds with each other, trees that hug all day — animation director and writer Sean Charmatz (@sean_charmatz) breathes life into everyday sights. “The idea is that if you look close enough and take a moment to observe, you will see all of this,” says Sean. “To me, there is magic in seeing a story that was already happening between objects. I feel the magic, so believe others will too.” Growing up, Sean, now 36, was drawn to the characters and letters of graffiti in big cities like San Francisco and New York. Today, his work as an animation director and writer allows him to tap into that childhood joy and share it with others. “It means a lot to me that people enjoy the work and that it has changed the way they look at the world,” he says. “I want my account to be a place where everyone can feel creative and be inspired.” Photo by @sean_charmatz
A herd of deer wandering through the still-wintry countryside of Hokkaido, Japan, drew Hidetoshi Kikuchi’s (@hidetoshi_kikuchi) attention — and his drone, theirs. #TheWeekOnInstagram Photo by @hidetoshi_kikuchi
“From a feminist standpoint, collaboration is essential to my practice, politically and artistically,” says Madelyne Beckles (@bellhoox), an artist who lives in Montreal. “It will always make work stronger and ideas come off more potent when there are different people involved working towards the same vision or goal. Also, to be real: you can’t do everything yourself! @petrafcollins and I met in grade nine and clicked right away. We’ve both evolved into different artists but love working together because we are such great friends and our difference lends itself well to each other’s practices.” This post is part of “In Search of Us,” a digital salon curated by @petrafcollins and @bellhoox. Their upcoming event #PopRallyxPetra at @themuseumofmodernart celebrates the representation of women by women. Photos and videos by @bellhoox
While visiting a church on Tibidabo mountain overlooking Barcelona, Spain, a yellow object caught Alberto Fonta Reiriz’s (@fontarei) eye — a rotating platform, offering visitors 360-degree views out over the city, mountains and coastline. “I felt like I was flying over the city of Barcelona,” says Alberto. #TheWeekOnInstagram Photo by @fontarei
Our #BoomerangOfTheWeek from Leticia Ramos (@letizilla) takes us on a wild rainbow ride. 🌈 Add #BoomerangOfTheWeek to your next Boomerang’s caption — yours might show up here on @instagram.
Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPyoungatheart Age really is just a number. This weekend, head out into the world and capture playful, candid photos and videos showing how life is better when we keep a touch of whimsy in every day. Here’s how to get started: Turn the mundane into the magical by observing daily scenes through the eyes of a child. Clouds become animals, the ground turns to lava and a cardboard box lets you travel through time. Have you kept any mementos from your own childhood? Take a video, Boomerang or multi-post to show their presence and meaning. Just grab your camera and be joyful. Be spontaneous. Be silly! We could all do with taking ourselves a little less seriously. PROJECT RULES: Please add the #WHPyoungatheart 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 @halno