Why Instagram Is Becoming Facebook’s Next Facebook

At a recent all-hands meeting with employees, Kevin Systrom, a founder and chief executive of Instagram, showed off one of his favorite charts: Days to Reach the Next 100 Million Users.

“It’s the only graph in the company that we celebrate when it declines,” Mr. Systrom said in an interview last week at Instagram’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.

Not long ago, the Facebook-owned photo-based social network grew at a steady clip. Every nine months, without fail, Instagram added another 100 million users somewhere in the world. Then, last year, it began racking up more new users every day. It grew to 600 million users from 500 million in only six months.

On Wednesday, just four months after reaching that milestone, the company announced it had reached another: About 700 million people now use Instagram every month, with about 400 million of them checking in daily.

Continue reading  at NYTimes.com


Candida Höfer

candida-hofer-01Höfer began taking color photographs of interiors of public buildings, such as offices, banks, and waiting rooms, in 1979 while studying in Düsseldorf. Her breakthrough to fame came with a series of photographs showing guest workers in Germany, after which she concentrated on the subjects “Interiors”, “Rooms” and “Zoological Gardens”. Höfer specialises in large-format photographs of empty interiors and social spaces that capture the “psychology of social architecture”. Her photographs are taken from a classic straight-on frontal angle or seek a diagonal in the composition. She tends to shoot each actionless room from an elevated vantage point near one wall so that the far wall is centered within the resulting image. From her earliest creations, she has been interested in representing public spaces such as museums, libraries, national archives, or opera houses devoid of all human presence. Höfer’s imagery has consistently focused on these depopulated interiors since the 1980s. Höfer groups her photographs into series that have institutional themes as well as geographical ones, but the formal similarity among her images is their dominant organizing principle.


 

Tang Yin, founder of the Suzhou School

Tang Yin (Chinese: 唐寅; pinyin: Táng Yín; Cantonese YWatching_the_Spring_and_Listening_to_the_Wind_by_Tang_Yinale: Tong Yan; 1470–1524), courtesy name Tang Bohu (唐伯虎), was a Chinese scholar, painter, calligrapher, and poet of theMing dynasty period whose life story has become a part of popular lore. Even though he was born during Ming dynasty, many of his paintings (especially paintings of people) were illustrated with elements from Pre-Tang to Song dynasty (12th century).[1][2]

Tang Yin is one of the most notable painters in Chinese art history. He is one of the “Four Masters of Ming dynasty” (Ming Si Jia), which also includes Shen Zhou (1427–1509), Wen Zhengming (1470–1559) and Qiu Ying (ca. 1495-1552). Tang was also a talented poet. Together with his contemporaries Wen Zhengming (1470–1559), Zhu Yunming (1460–1526), andXu Zhenqing, he was one of the “Four Literary Masters of the Wuzhong Region.”

Tang’s eccentric lifestyle has prompted storytellers to immortalize him as a trickster character in Chinese folklore. In one such story, he falls in love with a slave girl whom he glimpses on the boat of a high official passing through Suzhou. He has himself sold as a slave to the official’s household so that he may approach her. With the help of his friends, he eventually succeeds in bringing her home.[3] This story prompted the playwright Three Words by Feng Menglong and the opera The Three Smiles.

Tang emerged from the vital merchant class of Suzhou, at a very low economic level of the son of a restaurant operator. Contrary to some accounts, he seems to have studied assiduously during his youth, paying little attention to the worldly charms. His genius, which would later gain him renown as the supreme talent of the Jiangnan area (Southern China), soon drew him into the wealthy, powerful, and talented circles of Suzhou. Wen Zhengming became his friend; Wen’s father, Wen Lin (1445–1499), acted as something of a patron, making the right connections for him.[4]


 

Qi Baishi, the Chinese Goya

Qi Baishi (1 January 1864 – 16 September 1957) was a Chinese painter, noted for the whimsical, often playful style of his watercolor works.

Born to a peasant family from Xiangtan, Hunan, Qi became a carpenter at 14, and learned to paint by himself. When he came across the Mustard Seed Garden Manual of Painting, that sparked his interest to paint. He did not start learning painting and calligraphy until he was 27. After he turned 40, he traveled, visiting various scenic spots in China. After 1917 he settled in Beijing.

Some of Qi’s major influences include the early Qing dynasty painter Bada Shanren (八大山人) and the Ming dynasty artist Xu Wei (徐渭).

His pseudonyms include Qí Huáng (齊璜) and Qí Wèiqīng (齐渭清). The subjects of his paintings include almost everything, commonly animals, scenery, figures, toys, vegetables, and so on. He theorized that “paintings must be something between likeness and unlikeness, much like today’s vulgarians, but not like to cheat popular people”. In his later years, many of his works depict mice, shrimp or birds.

He was also good at seal carving and called himself “the rich man of three hundred stone seals” (三百石印富翁).

In 1953, he was elected president of the China Artists Association (中國美術家協會). He died in Beijing in 1957