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Photographer ziqian liu’s (@ziqianqian ) ethereal self-portraits seek balance and harmony, and her innermost longing for perfect order.⁣

“i started shooting this way about two or three years ago,” says ziqian. “i was very anxious at that time. i found that taking pictures would slowly release my negative emotions. my style was gradually formed in the process of shooting. i found that the minimalist pictures would make my heart calm.⁣

humans and other creatures of nature live in the same world; we breathe the same air, depend on each other, are tolerant of each other. i try to find a kind of balance and symbiosis between humans and nature in my works, because only in this kind of state can beauty be most embodied.⁣

my deepest desire is symmetry and perfect order. in my work, the images in the mirror represent the idealized world i hope for. the integration with the outside just reminds me to respect and recognize the imbalance in the real world, but also to adhere to my own inner order and principles.⁣

my work is always created indoors. i think in the space we are most familiar with our emotions can be fully released. through talking with ourselves, we can get to know our innermost true self. so i think enjoying loneliness is also the process of discovering beauty.”⁣

#thisweekoninstagram⁣

photos by @ziqianqian
6,495 509,755 Yesterday
“we are triggered by how information and technology transforms networks, cultures, societies, relationships, behaviors and interactions between people,” says jeroen barendse, the founder, design and art director for design studio rndr (@rndr.studio ), a netherlands-based company that develop tools for interactive media, creating work like installations, data visualizations and generative identities that almost exclusively use their own open source framework.⁣

in march, rndr launched quarantine stories, an online platform and collaborative resource collecting personal stories of people in isolation during covid-19 as an effort to document the effects of social distancing.⁣

“the project started from the simple premise that the view from our window is what connects all individuals currently living in isolation around the world and is the starting point to tell a personal story that touches upon being in quarantine,” explains jeroen. “sharing experiences on a large scale helps readers and contributors to avoid the sense of loneliness and encourages the expression of feelings.”⁣

#thisweekoninstagram⁣

video by @rndr.studio
8,681 316,147 2 days ago
Welcome to performer, artist and model ellen sheidlin’s (@sheidlina ) twisted fantasy world, where imagination runs wild and creativity plays out through her surreal imagery and absurd beauty looks.⁣

“my art covers sensitive issues like bullying, self-acceptance, body positivity,” says ellen, who lives in st. petersburg, russia. “i make sculptures, paint, sew clothes and organize interactive exhibitions. the videos are images that come to life, and these are cartoons in which i am the heroine, both a villain and a savior.”⁣

everything ellen creates is shot irl with her husband — and without a big team or huge budget. “everything is very modest; we make props in the workshop; my husband takes photos of me and i process them. the shooting takes two minutes and the preparation takes three days,” she says.⁣

“the internet for me is like a picture book in my childhood,” says ellen. “every social network has influenced my artist identity — every app, every filter.”⁣

#thisweekoninstagram⁣

photos by @sheidlina
10,196 892,970 3 days ago
And now for the look you’ve been waiting for... it’s actor billy porter (@theebillyporter ), a dynamic force. he made history last year as the first openly g*y black man to win best lead actor in a drama at the emmy awards. this year, he’s been nominated again for his work as the character pray tell on the tv show “pose.” ⁣

“never in a million years, as a g*y black man who came out in the 80s during the aids crisis, did i imagine that a show like ‘pose’ and a character like pray tell could exist,” says billy, who is known to make a statement through perspective and style. ⁣

“i would describe my style as free. i’ve worked a long time to find a space where i don’t care what other people think about me. that’s a real interesting and hard place to get to,” says billy. “i’m there. i’m free.” ⁣

cheer on billy and the other amazing nominees at the 72nd annual emmy awards (@televisionacad ). ⁣

photo of @theebillyporter by @luckychurch
6,075 579,041 3 days ago
What will fashion icon and two-time nominee billy porter (@theebillyporter ) be wearing to this year’s emmy awards? ⁣

florals? 🌸⁣
bold colors? 💥⁣
statement piece? 🔥⁣

whatever it is, we know it will be fierce. check back later for the grand reveal ahead of the big night.⁣

reel of @theebillyporter by @luckychurch
6,229 373,675 4 days ago
#hellofrom moab, utah. we’re dreaming of this mars-like landscape where human-made solar evaporation ponds — and matching blue skies — contrast with red desert rocks and table-top cliffs. ⁣

photo by @watchluke
6,261 645,443 4 days ago
Prickly or plush?⁣

on today’s #weeklyfluff we are curling up with liam (@radotink_hedgehog ), a pygmy hedgehog who officially found his comfort zone.⁣

photo by @radotink_hedgehog
15,782 875,200 5 days ago
School is back in session (kind of) and benito skinner (@bennydrama7 ) wins “most likely to make you laugh till it hurts.” 👏 👏👏⁣

see him portray some of his hilarious characters on igtv now. and if you’re in need of an after-school treat, check out our story. 😂⁣

video by @bennydrama7
4,256 205,481 5 days ago
The spirit of ubuntu. for south african hair artist nikiwe dlova (@nix_indamix ), it’s what she loves about being part of the black community.⁣

“even when you don’t have much yourself, but when your neighbor or a stranger is asking for help, we’re always there to assist each other,” says nikiwe. “it emphasizes social unity and generosity of spirit, which is beautiful to see because you’re not alone and you can’t do everything yourself.”⁣

today on our igtv, nikiwe shares what black joy means to her, along with some stunning hair looks.⁣

#shareblackstories 🖤⁣

photo of @nix_indamix by @danascruggs
8,915 412,046 1 weeks ago
One look at nikiwe dlova’s hair art and you know it’s something special.⁣

“i celebrate black joy through my hair art by showcasing how versatile our hair can be in every shape or form, color or texture,” says @nix_indamix, who’s from soweto, south africa. “whenever i think of black joy, i think of my xhosa culture, how vibrant it is, how people see beauty in the simplest things.”⁣

“it’s so important to celebrate black joy because it brings us together and we become a force when we’re moving together. we become powerful.”⁣

watch our igtv and story to see how nikiwe celebrates black joy through her art. ✨🖤⁣

#shareblackstories
3,302 173,281 1 weeks ago
Sharmadean reid (@sharmadeanreid ) works to celebrate and support the entrepreneurial spirit of women. since 2017, her platform beautystack (@beautystack ) has helped independent beauty and wellness professionals visually market their services and connect with new clients.⁣

“my motivation was my own experience as a young salon owner who was trying to hack her away around the existing tools to facilitate our clients’ user journey,” says sharmadean, who founded the east london salon wah nails, which re-imagined nail art and shaped the global trend.⁣

“black women have historically always found ways to hack a system that wasn’t designed for them in order to survive. it’s important to support black-owned businesses because when you move from survival mode to thriving mode, you create mental space for innovation and ideas. moving from fight or flight tendencies to adapt and create means a more dynamic economy with richer opportunities,” she says.⁣

“i hope to inspire achievement and economic empowerment. and i won’t rest until the gender pay gap is closed.”⁣

#thisweekoninstagram⁣

photo by @sharmadeanreid
11,365 534,698 2 weeks ago
“i’m proud of where we come from and that my parents stayed true to themselves,” says brazilian-american artist june canedo de souza (@june_canedo ), whose family migrated to the us when she was 9 years old.⁣

“leaving brazil wasn’t an easy decision and they’ve always had dreams of returning. i hope to help them make that happen. this is a generalization, but brazilians always dream of returning home.”⁣

this #latinxheritagemonth, we’re celebrating latinx voices that represent the beauty of their culture. read june’s letter below for more about her experience and watch our story to learn about her book “mara kuya,” a series of photos that tell the story of migration and family separation.⁣

✨✨✨✨✨✨✨⁣

“i don’t remember the face of the man who took me from minas gerais to new jersey, but i remember that first plane ride. how the blonde american woman with the little red hat on her head sat me up front and made me feel important with the crayons and the orange juice. i got to the us by morning and 20 years later, the only thing i can remember about jersey is the feeling of cold air pinching against my skin. it was november when i got to south carolina. the air was warm and sweet and i became the first brazilian third grader in horry county. taken over seven years, the images in ‘mara kuya’ are to assure my 9-year-old self that the sharp edges will smooth eventually. feeling the time go by, i am still doing my best.” —@june_canedo

collage by @valheria123
10,469 575,910 2 weeks ago