Instagram: Objects of Affection

Instagram: Objects of Affection

Love Love

For February, the folks at Instagram decided to think outside of the chocolate box and launch a special Valentine's Day Hashtag Project asking people to take photos of the objects that mean the most in their lives. The goal was to capture the heartfelt stories and memories that lie behind these objects and share the various forms of love that they represent to us. We partnered up and reached out to collect some of our favorites here.

"My Grandma gave me this watch around the time of my high school graduation in 2003. She and my grandfather both emigrated from Ireland to the US when they were young and got married while my Grandpa was working as a doorman. Instead of an engagement or wedding ring, he gave my Grandma what he could afford: a pretty drawstring pouch to hold a future gift, like a fancy watch. My dad thinks this watch might have been the item to be held in the pouch. But what matters most to me is that the watch belonged to my Grandma McCay, and when I wear it I think of her and her bright blue eyes, her slight Irish brogue, and her big personality in the tiniest frame. She would have been 100 years old this past December. I love her." (@alostfeather)

"I only have a few items that I would be devastated if I lost. I love old typewriters, and this one was given to me on my 22nd birthday by Chris (@csnider), a man who once held my heart. I was a senior at the University of Iowa, and Chris and I had been fighting at the time. When I came home from class, there was a medium-sized case by the door. Inside: a Remington Rand 5 with black, white and red keys—My favorite colors. Chris and I are no longer together, but since then, my Remington Rand has moved with me nine times, including homes in L.A., Austin, and Chicago, where it currently sits surrounded by pictures of my children." (@elauer4)

"Konijn. Everyone always told me her name was so original until they found out it simply meant 'rabbit' in Dutch. She used to sit up like a proper cuddly toy but through years of wear and tear she has turned out rather limp. My Dutch grandparents gave her to me when I was a baby. I remember using her arms and ears to mop up my tears when I cried or to hide my face behind when I was shy. So many times I thought I'd lost her, one time even leaving her accidentally on the beach when the tide was coming in. Luckily my father was at the rescue. Now, whenever I look at her, all of these memories flood back along with an overriding feeling of love towards my family. She was there from the beginning and went through all of the good and bad times with my family. She was even included in all our group hugs, so she means a lot." (@maddyaw)

"It's a tradition in Hawaii to present a loved one with a piece of Hawaiian jewelry to mark special occasions. It dates back to the era when Queen Kapiolani and Princess Liliuokalani attended Queen Victoria's Jubilee in 1887. They were presented with gold bracelets, their names cut out in Old English lettering and filled with black enamel, and were so delighted with their bracelets that they had similar ones made for other royals upon their return to Hawai'i. My husband knew it was a dream of mine to own a Hawaiian bracelet, and he bought me one for our first wedding anniversary. Whenever I wear it and look at that shiny gold staring back at me, I'm reminded of our early years as husband and wife with the promise of love and a bright future together." (@loulousnest)

"My dad used these cameras, along with the full accompaniment of studio and dark room trappings, to run a small photo business in the 1970s. They then took lots of photos of his new family in the 80s. I secreted them away on adventures as I learned to take photographs in middle school. On my most recent visit home, he asked if I wanted to take them - YES. Is this a trick question? One of them even had a roll of film in it from nine years earlier. Shooting with these cameras and lenses again feels so natural and satisfying." (@finchlinden)

"I always told myself I was bad at music, but my freshman year of college I decided to try playing the ukulele at my friends house. Even though I wasn't that skilled , I enjoyed it. That christmas, my parents gave me my own and I began to teach myself. Since then I have learned to play guitar, mandolin, and the banjo, but I never would have fallen in love with music had it not been for my uke. I have taken it so many places. From 60-hour road trips to Montana to going hiking and rock climbing in Arkansas, my ukelele has gone with me. I have so many good memories of jam sessions including this uke and I plan to make many more." (@connortd)

"My wife gave me this small puzzle as a birthday gift about four years ago. We always said that we'd take it with us on our next vacation, but we never found the time to take one. As a result, the puzzle sat there in its box, patiently waiting to be opened. Now that we've both finished medical schools (six-and-a-half long, tiring years), we finally took a vacation for our anniversary. We went to a cabin in the middle of the desert and, while there, finally decided to pull out the puzzle. We got to the most difficult part where all of the remaining parts look the same, and that made me pause for a minute and think. Although the future might be scary, difficult or unknown, I'll always be able to pause and think of that moment when I was totally free, assembling a puzzle with my wife." (@lidoraka)

"When I'm preparing for a trip, I love to pack lightly because it forces me to really think about the objects I am taking along: 'Do I really plan to write?' 'Will they have good coffee where I am going?' 'Will I need two pairs of sunglasses?' This little collection came with me for a short family vacation. These are the cigars my father always smoked, the jersey my brother and I race bicycles in, the first product I produced (a pair of socks), and the irreplaceable notebook that holds the story of my hardest and happiest times. If I left a single one behind, it would be like traveling without a companion." (@dylannord)

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