Patrik Monka’s (@riomonka) photography is an ode to the power of gymnasts and ballerinas. “I really like the strong poses and the energy they have,” says the photographer and video editor, who is originally from Sweden and based in Barcelona. Patrik carefully chooses the landscapes where he shoots — he wants to ensure these dynamic, flexible models are inspired by their surroundings, too. “The important thing for me is to be positive and inspire others to be positive,” says Patrik. “That’s my life goal.” To discover more stories from the Spanish-speaking community, follow @instagrames. Photo by @riomonka
Annie Flanagan’s (@annieflanagan) portraits are so intimate, so full of private moments and bared emotion, that you’re almost compelled to avert your gaze — but don’t. “Such a large part of the hate, confusion and judgement, gender-based or otherwise, stems from a lack of understanding,” says Annie, a New Orleans-based gender-neutral photographer and filmmaker. Currently, Annie’s working on a documentary project that introduces the genderqueer community to rural communities. “The more people can get to know each other, and the situations that are threatening or unfamiliar to them, the more they can identify with each other,” Annie says. “We all have so much to learn. Creating this intimate work can, in whatever small way, open up spaces for conversations and healing.” It’s June, and in many countries that means it’s time to celebrate #Pride2017. All month long, we’ll be sharing stories from diverse LGBTQ community members from around the world, like Annie. Photo by @annieflanagan
Some 13 year olds ask for bikes, later curfews or larger allowances; Brooklyn and Bailey McKnight (@brooklynandbailey) asked for their own online video channel. “We grew up on our mom’s channel,” say the Texas-based twins, who gained their ease in front of the camera by acting as hair models for their mother’s own hairstyle-focused video channel. “Viewers were asking about us all the time, so we really hoped for our channel to showcase our personalities and the more personal aspects of our lives.” Four years later, Brooklyn and Bailey post new videos every week, which is dedicated to “all things fun” — anything from beauty trend trial and errors to comedy sketches and songs. “We try to showcase the normal, day-to-day aspects of being teenagers,” they say, which includes thinking about college. What will become of the dynamic duo’s channel once they strike out on their own? “We still plan to film videos while at college. We’re both excited for those adventures, but nervous to be away from home for the first time!” This week, Brooklyn and Bailey are headed to #VidCon, an annual celebration of videos and video creators. Photo by @brooklynandbailey
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“I love making people laugh,” says Ashley Helbert (@tiny_chikn). “I bought this hanging basket plant a few weeks ago at a local Tennessee nursery, and I instantly thought it looked like some kind of floating plant monster. I finally took it upon myself to give it googly eyes.” 👀 #WHPstandout Photo by @tiny_chikn
Three — that’s how many trainers Isabela Moner (@isabelamoner) had in the six weeks leading up to filming the @transformersmovie, when the 15-year-old actress was getting in shape for her role as the independent Izabella. “I was doing cardio, boxing and resistance training,” says Isabela. “I had to build up stamina and endurance for the long days that little old me would be running alongside Mark Wahlberg.” Tough workouts and extraterrestrial bad guys aren’t even Isabela’s biggest challenges these days — it’s balancing school and acting. “My mom said I couldn’t continue acting if I didn’t keep my grades up,” says Isabela, who calls Cleveland home. “I usually fit in as much school as I can on set, but it’s hard to switch gears. You go from quadratic formulas to dramatic death scenes. It’s complicated, but also rewarding — I have such a sense of accomplishment in juggling both my career and my education.” Photo of @isabelamoner by @adamchristopherphoto
It was only six years ago that Sebastián Villalobos (@sebbbbas) first borrowed his mom’s camera to create his own videos and post them online. “Growing up, we didn’t have a computer at home,” he says, “so I had to go to a cybercafé and pay to go online!” At 21 years old, Sebastián is now one of the most popular video creators in his home country of Colombia, with millions of fans who follow his channel of comedy sketches and music videos. “I believe that part of the success is because I’m not unreachable,” he says. “I’m just a normal guy with a bunch of dreams.” This week, Sebastián is headed to #VidCon, an annual celebration of video and video creators. Photo by @sebbbbas
“Photography allows me to stay on the move, much like I did throughout my childhood and young adult years,” recounts photojournalist Diana Zeyneb Alhindawi (@dianazeynebalhindawi), who was born in Romania to an Iraqi father and Romanian mother. “Our family faced repeated harassment under the communist regime, but returning to Iraq was not an option for my father,” she says. “He would have been killed.” The family moved to Syria, then back to Romania, where they applied for asylum in Germany, but were rejected. “We ended up living in a refugee camp in former Yugoslavia, and were accepted for resettlement in Canada just before my 8th birthday,” says Diana. We were the perfect refugee family — my mother and father had professional degrees, and my brother and I were young enough to easily integrate into a new society and national identity.” Diana now divides her time between Brooklyn, New York, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. “I started working in humanitarian aid because I wanted to help people in the types of situations my family went through,” she says. Four years ago, she decided to turn to a career in photography. “It lets me immerse myself in the lives of others, and to continue working with those experiencing some of the world’s harshest realities.” #WhereIComeFrom June 20th marks #WorldRefugeeDay, a day to honor the men, women and children who must flee their homes under threat of persecution and violence. Photo by @dianazeynebalhindawi
A burst of bright yellow shines from Hong Kong’s monochromatic skyline. Follow along to see more of our favorites from last weekend’s hashtag project, #WHPstandout. Photo by @ryanmamba
“I wanted to be a singer since I was a child, but the hunger and drive for it escalated when I saw Lady Gaga perform on her Monster Ball Tour,” says 18-year-old artist Trevor Moran (@trevormoran), who has since gone on to record two EPs and garner a following of loyal online fans. “The proudest moments of my career are when my fans tell me I inspire them to be their authentic selves,” says Trevor, who believes #KindComments are all about love, respect and, of course, kindness. “The most memorable kind comments I’ve ever received were the ones I got the day I came out online,” says Trevor. “People all over the world were showing me great acceptance. It brought tears to my eyes.” It’s June, and in many countries that means it’s time to celebrate #Pride2017. Join the celebration by adding your own #KindComments that uplift you and others in the LGBTQ community.
Actor Corey Fogelmanis (@coreyfogelmanis) has been performing since he was 6 years old, but it was around age 10 that it all really clicked. “I knew then that I wanted acting to be more than just a hobby,” says the 17-year-old California native, who’s spent the past decade performing onstage and on TV. Each setting brings its own set of rewards and challenges, but after working on a sitcom for the last three years, Corey is excited to take his acting chops back to the theater. “I love the intimacy of it, and that the audience and cast alike can experience something together that’s unique to a moment in time,” he says. “When it’s over, it’s over; it can only live on in our memories.” As someone who’s spent much of his life in the spotlight, Corey is no stranger to the power of #KindComments. “To me, it’s about people going out of their way to spread positivity and build others up,” he says. Join in by sharing your #KindComments — empowering comments that uplift you and others in the community.
The only mystery behind the popularity of Mike Chau’s (@foodbabyny) pictures is why no one came up with the simple equation — food + babies — sooner. So, what inspired Mike to pose his son, Matt, and his daughter, Samantha, with delicious-looking foods around New York City? Mike’s answer is simple: boredom. “Right after Matt was born, we didn’t go out very often,” says Mike. “We ordered a lot of takeout and ate at home. I was taking pictures, but it was getting boring. Same photos of Matt, same foods. Then I thought it would be fun to combine them. I figured if there was a shot of food with a cute kid behind it, it might be more interesting.” Judging by the response — Mike and his family are often recognized on the street by well-wishers — he was right. But the best part? The family time. “It’s just great that we can do this together, as a family, because we all love it.” Watch our Instagram story now to eat some tasty treats with Mike and his family this #FathersDay. Photo by @foodbabyny
As the dad of four children ranging in age from 15 to 5, photographer Rob Yaskovic (@robyaskovic) enjoys untold opportunities for capturing informal family portraits — with “enjoys” being the operative word. “Every day, I’m taking photos,” Rob says. “Every day, I’m thinking about photos, and my children end up in my pictures because I’m around them so often. When you have four kids with crazy schedules, that’s your life. Fortunately for me, it also happens to be pretty exciting.” At 38 years old, Rob has been a working photographer — five years at a New Jersey newspaper, then freelancing for magazines, shooting weddings and other gigs — for almost half his life. Explaining his passion for the craft of picture-taking, Rob cites another longtime pastime that has given him pleasure through the years: fly fishing. “It’s about the decisive moment. When you’re trout fishing, drifting a dry fly, you hold your breath, waiting for the strike. It’s like that with photography, too. It’s about eternal hope. You’re always hoping something amazing is going to happen on the river, or in front of your camera. And sometimes, if you’re lucky, it does.” Photos by @robyaskovic
The clashing colors, patterns and fabrics you see in Alexander Hernández’s (@hernalex_art) work are no accident — they represent the patchwork of the artist himself. “I like to mix different things together because that’s kind of my identity,” says the San Francisco-based textile artist and social worker. “I’m Mexican, but I also grew up with American pop culture. So, I’ve always been interested in edgy patchworks, in mixing patterns that shouldn’t work together, but do.” The metaphor extends to how Alexander hopes Pride celebrations continue to grow in acceptance of everyone’s patterns of identity. “We might not all see eye to eye,” says Alexander, “but being aware and supportive of each other is a start.” It’s June, and in many countries that means it’s time to celebrate #Pride2017. All month long, we’ll be sharing stories from diverse LGBTQ community members from around the world, like Alexander. Watch our Instagram story now for a look inside Alexander’s studio. Photo by @hernalex_art
In the lush greenery of Taiwan’s Yangmingshan National Park, Vivian Huang (@vivianhaung) stops to smell the hydrangeas. “The light coming down from between the clouds made these flowers even more dazzling,” she says. #TheWeekOnInstagram Photo by @vivianhaung
Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPstandout This weekend, the goal is to create photos and videos that capture one or several surprising elements — like this image by Ali Kate Cherkis (@cherkis). Here are some tips to get you started: Look for unexpected additions to a scene. Is there a child’s face peeking out from behind the couch during a family photo shoot? An animal standing in an urban setting where there typically isn’t one? Let your mantra be, “One of these things is not like the others.” Glance at your surroundings. What immediately catches your eye? Let yourself be drawn naturally to colors, shapes and movements, and then work those into your photos, videos or Boomerangs. Think of someone in your life whose personality stands out from the crowd. How can you capture that spirit or ethos in a photograph? PROJECT RULES: Please add the #WHPstandout 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 @cherkis
It worked out that 17-year-old fashion designer Shami Oshun (@bluexheeta) didn’t decide to go to prom until the week before — after all, she only needed one night to hand-sew her own gown. “I’m kind of a last-minute person. That’s where all my best ideas come from,” says the Hayward, California, native, who’s been sewing since she was 8 and now runs her own clothing line, @shamioshun. Shami credits her design success with letting her ideas flow, so that’s just what she did. The day before prom, she bought a few yards of purple tulle, grabbed some pins and her dress form, and got to work, putting the finishing touches on just before her friends came over to get ready. While Shami had no expectations that her dress would be as much of a hit as it was, she hopes young designers will follow her lead and make events like prom their own fashion runway. “If I make a fancy dress, what am I going to do with it? Just take pictures?” says Shami. “Take advantage of nights like prom — do what you love and show off your skills.” Photo by @bluexheeta