Beth Hoeckel (@bethhoeckel) can’t remember a time when she wasn’t making art. Photography, painting, drawing — she did it all. Combine that talent with a near-complete collection of National Geographic magazines from the 1940s through the 1970s, not to mention a habit of scouring flea markets for old books, and it happened naturally that the Baltimore native started piecing different media together into collage. “I’ll peruse books and magazines and tear out things that I’m drawn to,” says Beth, on how she begins a piece. “It’s a meditative process. I’ll lay all the pieces I’ve cut out all over my studio and start putting it together, kind of like a puzzle.” From there, Beth constructs the entire collage by hand using archival-quality paste. “Sometimes things will come together really easily, and sometimes nothing works,” she says. “It’s just really intuitive. I don’t force it. I can feel when something is right.” Photo by @bethhoeckel
"Today we’re looking back on 2016 with our Year in Review. My favorite part of this year’s reflection is this list of the 10 most popular emojis, which are all positive and celebratory — sentiments that I hope only grow in 2017 as we continue to focus on being the safest and most welcoming place for self-expression." (Check out the full list below.) —Kevin Systrom (@kevin), Instagram co-founder and CEO 10. 💙 9. 🎉 8. ✌️ 7. 👌 6. 😊 5. 💕 4. 😘 3. 😂 2. 😍 1. ♥️
Syamly Rushdi’s (@syamly) daughter ascends a Mars-like landscape in Melaka, Malaysia, for last weekend’s hashtag project, #WHPmagic. Syamly described the otherworldly location as “a great place for a short getaway from everything.” Photo by @syamly
At just 18 years old, Val Weisler (@valiswiser) has brought together 6,000 teenagers from 105 countries to overcome challenges. “In my freshman year of high school, I was very shy and got bullied badly. People would put notes in my locker telling me to leave school, and would start rumors that I was mute. I thought, ‘They’re telling me that I’m not worth it, and maybe they’re right,’” recalls Val. “Getting out of bed became my biggest struggle. One day I saw another kid getting bullied at school. I walked up to him, and said, ‘You matter.’ He started to cry. He had nearly given up hope, but I had validated him.” That night Val built her site, The Validation Project, and the letters from around the world started pouring in. Today, teens share their skills and struggles, and Val’s program partners them with mentors that include software engineers, former professional football players and leaders of social justice projects. “It’s all about that two-part validation,” explains Val, who was handpicked as an ambassador for the US State Department in order to further her mission. “First, showing my generation that we’ve got worth, and then teaching them how to use that worth to help others.” Today, we’re joining Val by rolling out new tools to maintain the positivity and safety of our community. We are committed to keeping Instagram a welcoming place for self-expression. #Boomerang by @valiswiser
A leap in front of a candy-colored mural in Los Angeles leads to an unexpected twist. How many pairs of socks do you count in this #WHPmagic submission by @ari_fararooy? Video by @ari_fararooy
In Istanbul, Asli (@insearchofwonders) took her love of baking to new heights when she conjured this enchanted reaction to a bite of cake. 🍰✨ The goal of #WHPmagic was to bring magic to everyday life with surreal and imaginative photos and videos. Follow along as we feature more of our favorite submissions. Photo by @insearchofwonders
2,600. That’s the number of unique cookie cutters that Patti Paige (@bakedideas) has shaped. It started when she couldn’t find the right acorn-shaped cutter for a customer’s request. Armed with icing in every color of the rainbow, Patti challenges herself to take an existing shape and transform it into something unexpected; an ice-cream cone metamorphoses into a caterpillar, or a baseball hat becomes a chair. “I like to make an outline of a cutter on a piece of paper and turn it this way and that until I start to see things differently,” says Patti, who is based in New York City. “A cookie cutter is just an outline that can suggest many different images if you focus on it and let your mind wander.” The festive parade of emojis and characters filling her photos may look perfect, but on closer inspection, each one is unique. “My goal is to make sure you can see the texture and imperfections in the icing and feel that the cookies are handmade,” she says. For #NationalCookieDay, Patti plans to get into the holiday spirit by filling her kitchen with the warm scent of gingerbread — and some surprising twists on familiar shapes. Photo by @bakedideas
Photojournalist Akshay Mahajan (@lecercle) captured this scene during a moment of reflection by the Brahmaputra River. “The river is like an inland sea that mesmerizes,” he says. “Walk up to the edge and stare out at the empty expanse in the hope that maybe a boat will pass.” #TheWeekOnInstagram Photo by @lecercle
Mariola Yvonne (@mariolayvonne) captures the ambiance of the Badeschiff — a floating swimming pool in Berlin’s Spree River during summer months — after it was transformed into a winter market and village. Photo by @mariolayvonne
Tap our profile pic to watch our Instagram story and see what a day is like for singer and songwriter John Legend (@johnlegend). He’s currently on the move promoting his new album “Darkness and Light.” Photo by @bumper3077
Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPmagic The goal this weekend is to bring magic to everyday life with surreal and imaginative photos and videos. Here’s how to get started: Seek inspiration from fairy tales and film. Stage a scene with your own magical characters using colorful costumes and props. Find touches of magic in the world around you — whether it’s a prism of light appearing like a mysterious portal on your bedroom wall, or a forest transformed into an enchanted woodland by early morning fog. Create optical illusions with your videos and photos. Make a gravity-defying Boomerang, or shooting from a unique perspective so objects appear smaller or larger in your images than in real life. PROJECT RULES: Please add the #WHPmagic 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
When French photo artist Romain Nicoloso (@p22_art) seeks inspiration, he moves house. “After eight years in Paris, I decided to move from my comfort zone and live overseas to discover new cultures and meet new people,” the 27-year-old says. “I am currently living in Sydney but will be leaving soon to Hong Kong for a new experience.” While Romain’s location changes, the one constant in his portfolio is a playful, vivid imagination that sends sheep to a skyscraper rooftop by balloon or whales to the clouds. “I try to bring something new — a new way to interpret things, to surprise people,” he says. Romain’s hopes for anyone who sees his work? “I want people to feel free in their mind,” he says. “That’s how I feel when I create. Everyone is creative, we just need sometimes to think out of the box without constraint.” Photo illustration by @p22_art
Nyimas Laula Li An’Amie (@nyimaslaula) has her #EyesOn a world under the sea. Growing up in Indonesia, an archipelago nation of over 17,000 islands, the 24-year-old photographer spent weekends on the beach with family but had little idea what existed beneath the surface. That all changed when she took up free diving, descending deep into the water, without oxygen tanks. “Being underwater is like being where life starts from,” she says. “Free diving keeps me humble and reminds me that I’m just a tiny human in the big ocean.” Now, exploring her country above and below the water, Nyimas is confronted by scenes that disturb — like swampy fields of plastic waste, skies lost in industrial haze — and those that induce awe, like a pod of melon-headed whales in clear, blue water. “I swam side by side like I was one of them,” says Nyimas of her whale sighting. “Watched them play, heard them sing. They reminded me that on this planet, we’re not the only ones who try to survive. They gave me hope — to keep fighting to save our planet.” Photo by @nyimaslaula
For #WHPthisishome, Kathryn Riley (@k__h__r) captured a moody moment at the end of her street in Massachusetts. “This part of town is almost always referred to as either the ‘sticks,’ the ‘boonies,’ or just straight up the middle of nowhere,” says Kathryn. “To me, this image perfectly captures the isolation of where I grew up.” Photo by @k__h__r
Graphic designer and Don Fisher (@don_fisher) founder Julia Castaño is responsible for the sea creatures that jump out of the ocean and transform into backpacks, card holders and pouches. Julia, who lives in Barcelona, Spain, dreams up goods influenced from a wide array of sources: Scandinavian design, the Mediterranean Sea and the double meaning of the Spanish word “bonito,” which refers to a family of fish but also means pretty. “Everything is focused on the sea,” says Lorena Fernández, who works with Julia. “If we’re going to set up a fish market, we’ll put on aprons. Julia’s guy acts as Don Fisher, the role of the captain. We’re the crew.” ⚓️🐠 To discover more voices from the Spanish-speaking community, follow @instagrames. Photo by @don_fisher