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Forza Horizon 5 – Racing through Mexico

The cat is out of the bag! Nobody knew I spent a large part of 2019-2020 working on a secret project with a secret codename. Namely, I was doing research and reference photography throughout Mexico for the now widely known smash hit racing video game Forza Horizon 5 created by the genre-defining UK developer Playground Games and published by Xbox Game Studios. What an irony of fate that bookending the countrywide lockdown, I had such an unprecedented privilege to travel and explore some of the most stunning locations in Mexico on assignment! While I was entrusted with the coverage of such regions as Oaxaca farmlands, Chiapas jungles and Chihuahua canyons, my other two colleagues focused on equally stunning Baja, Yucatan and Guanajuato.

The immensity of my photo-gathering task aside, throughout the journey I was also facing some of the biggest challenges in my photography career – irreplaceable gear problems in the field, leveling up my Spanish immensely to communicate with curious locals and my security team, sudden debilitating snowstorms (yes! snowstorms in Mexico!), navigating dangerous road passages and sometimes making the call to change entire routes, there was even a tragic accident that called off my pro rock-climber assistant to lead a rescue operation in the mountains only he knew… Needless to say, without my awesome team members helping along the way, I couldn’t have succeeded. It’s true, this project truly changed my life! At the end of 2021, as the trailers and marketing materials were being released preceding the game’s launch in November, all I could do was marvel at the resulting achievement of Playground Games artists who transformed our photography and videos into the 3-D backdrop of the game.

To be honest, sometimes I think that this entire experience must’ve been a dream… When this happens I pinch myself and remember the words our project producer had written during the release: “Delivering this game under covid was a monumental task, and I know that created huge challenges for each of you while out on location. Somehow, against all the odds we have built an amazing game, and without your efforts gathering thousands of photographs and videos for us, we wouldn’t have been able to achieve the levels of beauty and authenticity represented in our game world.”

Forza Horizon 5 Video Game

Food Photography for the Cookbook ‘Nourish Yourself, Nurture Our World’

My first cookbook photography collaboration with holistic food innovator, hotelier and entrepreneur Daniella Hunter was an unforgettable adventure between Los Angeles and Tulum, Mexico. Of course the best part was spending the production days with our amazing team who inspired me beyond words, all the while playing with (and eating!) the most incredible healthy food. This project forever transformed my eating habits and truly changed my life.

Nourish Yourself, Nurture Our World by Daniella Hunter

 

Pacha Kuti: The Golden Path

Not so long ago, in the world before Covid-19 coronavirus epidemic, our little crew embarked on a wild production adventure around Manú National Park in Peruvian Amazon, with a mission to make a short film for NatGeo Wild. Far from luxurious or easy, this trip challenged me to the core of my being, but what can you expect from a journey of return to the roots of Mother Earth… The result is our beautiful short film ‘Pacha Kuti: The Golden Path.’ Directed and filmed by Reed Rickert and produced by our production company Modern Maya, this film became a full-circle evolution of the original project we’d begun back in 2016. Amazingly, this time we were able to continue the production in the manner of my dreams – with the support from National Geographic and as part of the short film program for Sun Valley Film Festival’s 50th anniversary celebration of Earth Day coming up on April 22, 2020.

Due to the complicated times we’re living in right now and the subsequent cancellation of this year’s Sun Valley Film Festival chapter, our film’s message seems more timely than ever. That’s why we decided to do an early online release which I’m happy to share here as well.

Daniella Hunter Clothing Collection

I love to photograph fashion I can understand and wear myself. Inspired by Sanará Hotel’s co-founder Daniella Hunter’s dual life between LA and Tulum, this sustainable signature clothing line is a dream to wear on the beaches and beyond.

 

NAGA Tulum

To experience Naga Tulum is to be touched by pure magic. I am so grateful for clients like this who become family and remain in my heart no matter what the distance.

 

ART WITH ME: Tulum 2019

This post is long overdue, nonetheless I still think about Art With Me 2019 event with so much gratitude. I had my first photography exhibition Head in the Clouds as part of the festival in Tulum and thanks to the generous support of Sanará whose entire team encouraged me every step of the way and provided their beautiful ocean-front yoga studio as my dream exhibition space. This experience was a dream come true for me on so many levels… I finally got to share my art in Tulum, the town where my life as a photographer began 10 years ago! I got to see my photographs displayed on the walls of my favorite yoga space, then I got to do my own yoga practice there and to experience the images as they were intended, each one embodying and supporting a moment on the journey of transformation. The series as a whole is a soft yet powerful background to the healing events that take place in the studio and the moments captured in the images are amazing to contemplate while observing your breath in an asana to the sound of the ocean.

Of course I also loved immersing myself in all the incredible art and music around Tulum with my friends and I also got to hang out with some very inspiring people like the musician Michael Franti and the Liberian human rights activist Kimmie Weeks. All I can say is, Art With Me set the pulse for me in the year 2019 and I really can’t wait to see how 2020 ups the ante. Happy New Year and cheers to dreams coming true!

To view the images from my Head in the Clouds series displayed in Sanará and to order framed art pieces, please visit my online shop – http://annakinpictures.com.

Head In The Clouds

 

The Real Coconut: Sanará, Tulum

I never imagined that gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free and refined-sugar-free dining could be this good! When it comes to re-imagining the way we think about food, The Real Coconut Restaurant in Tulum, Mexico, is the place to exceed all expectations. Needless to say, photographing the food here became a new addiction and, lucky for me, also led to an amazing new collaboration creating TRC’s first cook book (coming soon!)

 

Sanará Tulum: Lifestyle Photography

One of my most inspiring clients yet! Sanará Hotel founders are an unstoppable force when it comes to sustainable business practices and high integrity commitment to make the world better.

 

Summit Tulum 2019

Such an honor and a pleasure to photograph the inspiring Summit conference in Tulum once again this year.

 

Yäan Wellness Energy Healing Spa: Tulum, Mexico

So happy to return to photograph this incredible spa during 2019 season in Tulum, Mexico. Truly one of the most beautiful and healing spots in the world – https://yaanwellness.com

 


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Daniella Hunter Clothing Collection

I love to photograph fashion I can understand and wear myself. Inspired by Sanará Hotel’s co-…

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Lifestyle

Food Photography for the Cookbook ‘Nourish Yourself, Nurture Our World’

My first cookbook photography collaboration with holistic food innovator, hotelier and entrepreneur …

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Hospitality

NAGA Tulum

To experience Naga Tulum is to be touched by pure magic. I am so grateful for clients like this who …

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Forza Horizon 5 Video Game
Forza Horizon 5 – Racing through Mexico

The cat is out of the bag! Nobody knew I spent a large part of 2019-2020 working on a secret projec…

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People

Summit Tulum 2019

Such an honor and a pleasure to photograph the inspiring Summit conference in Tulum once again this …

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