All year long, David Whitemyer (@mahikerbiker) visits spooky sites across the country. “My love of history, architecture and exploring new places attracts me to abandoned buildings,” says David, a museum exhibit designer based in Boston. “I treat them with respect, never vandalizing and never taking anything.” He often combines eerie images with a clever pun or quip — this photo of a barber’s chair from the Eastern State Penitentiary in Pennsylvania was captioned with the words “Shear Madness.” David is adventurous when it comes to seeking out new places to photograph, but come Halloween, he kicks back to take in the festivities: “I enjoy sitting on the front porch on Halloween night, with a glass of wine, and seeing everyone’s costumes.” Photo by @mahikerbiker
You nearly smell the earth and woods in Francine de Mattos’ (@fotografeumaideia) photos. A resident of Salete, a small town of 7,000 people in Santa Catarina, Brazil, she shares snapshots of the region’s scenery. “When I am not taking pictures for work, I go for a ride on my motorcycle. On these trips, I rediscover the place where I live,” the 25-year-old photographer says. “I love to hear a good story from someone who has lived for a long time.” Francine fell for photography 10 years ago while still in high school. “My motivation is nostalgia. I lost my maternal grandmother before I got a camera, and so I do not have a picture of her that I took. It is this absence that makes me want to photograph everything and everyone.” Check out @instagrambrasil to discover more stories from the region. Photo by @fotografeumaideia
It’s ironic, but true — designer Ashley Rose (@ashleyrosecouture) can’t remember the last time she put on a costume for Halloween. “Even as a kid, I didn’t really do Halloween. I was always more fascinated with what other people were wearing.” A little more than five years ago, the 28-year-old from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, made her first corset dress on a form and posted a picture. “That was the motivation that I needed to keep doing it,” she says. Ever since, Ashley has been experimenting, collaborating with other artists and musicians and “making it up as she goes” with her sometimes-surreal, sometimes-macabre and always beautifully intricate dresses, jumpsuits, headpieces and more. Specific places inspire her designs — abandoned theaters, haunted Victorian houses — and her current collection is based off a home in Philadelphia; fairy tale meets circus, she describes it. What will she be doing on Halloween this year? “Passing out candy, and going to a party that I’m not dressing up for.” Photo by @mckenzieleekphoto
“We were exploring some of the galleries at the Sharjah Art Foundation in United Arab Emirates, and at the same time looking for spots to take group photos,” says Mark Anthony Hebres (@est0y) of his #WHPfreetime submission, which captures his favorite pastime — hanging with friends. Photo by @est0y
Starting today, you’ll begin to see Instagram Stories on Explore. We announced Instagram Stories in August as a new feature for sharing everyday moments. Now, with stories on Explore, it’s easier than ever to discover new stories you’ll want to watch. More than 100 million people visit Explore every day to discover photos and videos from people they don’t yet follow. The new suggested stories section highlights the most interesting stories from across Instagram’s vast global community — and like the rest of Explore, the stories you’ll see are personalized to your interests. To learn more about Instagram Stories on Explore, check out
Friends take a sunny joyride in this #WHPfreetime submission from Chicago. Follow along for more of our favorite submissions from last weekend’s hashtag project. Photo by @aj_trela
“My version of #PerfectlyMe is letting go of the never-ending fight to be someone else. #PerfectlyMe invites ME back into the equation, not as a form of settling for myself, but as an act of welcoming that self home, accepting her singularities, celebrating her deviance.” —Rebekah Taussig (@sitting_pretty), a writer, teacher and PhD candidate who lives in Kansas City, Missouri. “Growing up with a disability, I developed a lot of coping mechanisms early in life — detaching from my body, always smiling no matter what I was experiencing on the inside, never admitting sadness or shame. Even when I received the positive affirmation I was seeking, it was never enough to make me feel full. With time — so much time — I’ve been working to shift that burden of acceptance to myself. Accepting myself frees me up to actually experience life — to use this instrument I’m living in. Why do we treat our bodies as objects to beat into submission, to criticize into doing better, to overcome and rise above? I want to work with my body. I think we’ll get further and fuller that way, but it’s slow. I’m learning.” Who or what inspires you to feel #PerfectlyMe? Use the hashtag to share your story. Photo by @sitting_pretty
Growing up, Jody Heakes (@jdoday) was frequently bullied about her weight. “I remember (now cringingly), in middle school dumbing myself down, pretending not to know things, because I’d decided that I would much rather be labeled as ‘the stupid girl’ than ‘the fat girl,’” says the 21-year-old. “Today, I pride myself on being a thoughtful and intelligent woman.” Jody was interested in photography, but it wasn’t until she graduated from high school that her mother encouraged her to model. “I was always behind the camera, never in front,” Jody says. “Switching roles and seeing photos of myself made me realize that I wasn’t as unattractive as I felt.” Her participation in the body-positive movement online feels like an extension of her studies at the University of Toronto — she’s a fourth-year student in history and equity studies. “I strongly believe that representation matters, and not only representation of different body types, but different ethnicities, ages and abilities,” Jody says. “Confidence comes with time. It has taken me over five years to reach the level of acceptance with myself that I have now. I can only imagine how much better I’ll feel five years from now.” Who or what inspires you to feel #PerfectlyMe? This month, we’ve teamed up with @seventeen to celebrate people who are redefining body standards and inspiring confidence on Instagram. Use the hashtag to share your story. Photo by @jdoday
Donald Miralle (@donaldmiralle) was poised to capture the start of a triathlon in Hawaii when this majestic turtle crossed his path. “Since 2000, I’ve been photographing the Ironman World Championship in Kona and taken this underwater angle of the mass swim start. I’ve seen fish and a bunch of triathletes down there, but never a turtle!” says the photographer. “He did two slow passes and then disappeared into deep water, and I didn’t see him again. I couldn’t help but feel so fortunate to have been in that moment and have him choose to swim by me.” #TheWeekOnInstagram Photo by @donaldmiralle
After attending an open ballet class with @cinqballet dancers, Daria Bylbas (@dashabylbas) captured this circle of tutus and pointe shoes. “When I look at this photo, I feel very inspired,” says the student from Moscow. #TheWeekOnInstagram Photo by @dashabylbas
For traveling fashion photographer and stylist Trevor Stuurman (@trevor_stuurman), home is wherever the Wi-Fi connects. Whether he’s styling a shoot in South Africa or speaking on a panel in Rwanda, he’s an advocate for African fashion and culture. “I support the local fashion industry in various ways, such as wearing local, shooting local and making a noise about our local talent,” Trevor, who is based in Johannesburg, says. To people who imagine the continent as a nascent location for fashion, Trevor says it’s time to catch up: “Africa is now! We are here, educated, empowered and highly relevant. We are awakening to our own beauty and celebrating that every day.” Photo by @trevor_stuurman
Camille Seaman (@camilleseaman) has her #EyesOn the Dakota Access Pipeline. “The message I heard over and over when I was growing up was any harm you do to the environment, you’re doing to yourself,” the California-based photographer says. “I felt called to come not only as an indigenous person, but as a recorder of history.” Camille arrived in North Dakota nearly a month ago, but since April, there have been times when thousands of people gathered near the town of St. Anthony in response to the construction of the pipeline, a means for transporting crude oil out of the state. “From the point of view of the people standing up here, they are calling themselves protectors. They see themselves as not just protecting their own access to water, but the access for those Americans who also rely on that water,” Camille says. Earlier this week, an appeal to halt the project was struck down in court; the pipeline has permission to continue construction. “This is a huge, global call to stand and say that not only is clean water essential and important, a sacred thing, but it’s time to draw the line in the sand and say enough,” says Camille. Photo by @camilleseaman
Nico Young (@nicobyoung) wants the world to understand that teenage photographers are a force to be reckoned with. He should know: The 17-year-old had his work published on the cover of The New York Times Magazine — teasing to a 12-page spread inside. “I just want other teens to understand how valuable their perspective is,” says the native Californian. “Young people can be so creative.” Nico has been photographing his friends since the point-and-shoot days, but landed this assignment when a teacher shared his work with the Times. “Young photographers are in a special position because no adult can capture teenage life with the same intimacy and honesty that a teenager can,” says Nico. “I am not just a witness to the actions in the photos; I am a participant. I am in the images.” Nico plans on preserving his time capsule of teenagehood as long as possible: “I feel a lot of pressure to capture it all before I’m not a kid anymore. I want to appreciate it while it lasts.” Photo by @nicobyoung
Before sculptor Duy Anh Nhan Duc (@duyanhnhanduc) deconstructs nature, every plant included in a piece is patiently examined. “I put myself at its level,” says the self-taught artist based in Paris. “Whether it’s grass or clover, I will get down on the ground to observe it.” All different plants are used in his sculptures, but his heart leans toward the dandelion. Many people consider it a weed or a nuisance, but from its delicate seed head, Duy Anh can create a soft mandala-like sculpture or the fur of an enormous bear. “It’s a plant that I have wanted to observe and work with since I was very young,” says Duy Anh, who has always been drawn to the dandelion’s fleeting beauty. “It is in dissecting them and rearranging them that inspiration comes,” he says. For more stories from the French-speaking community, check out @instagramfr. Photo by @duyanhnhanduc
“I draw, I carve, I print. Then repeat,” captions Doğacan Onaran (@dogacanonaran) in her submission to #WHPseeingdouble, taken at home in her studio. Our hashtag project spoke to her process: “It’s the main thing in print making: think the mirror view. Positive and negative. You have to draw negative, if you want to get the positive on the paper.” Photo by @dogacanonaran