Posts in Travel
I'm starting to VLOG!

Humai and I have been traveling all over the world meeting incredible people and the best way we can think of sharing these experiences is through a Vlog. This particular series is for HYFN and will focus on stories of South Asians and Muslims in America. For our first episode we went to the middle of the Arizona desert where Humai shot a photo story with our friend Negine frolicking around the beautiful southwestern landscape. 

It's important to continually be working on your craft. Just as athletes train all year around we creatives need to constantly train our eye, go hard when we practice and push ourselves to take creative risks. The purpose of the shoot Humai is doing with Nagine is to tell a story and catch a vibe but more importantly it's to practice photography. To be in a completely unfamiliar landscape creating images that evoke emotion and feel purposeful. To get better with each shoot and walk away having learned something. This is important. 

And for myself this was an exercise in telling a story about a person and their day and also a chance for me to practice shooting with a drone (which is something we just added to our kit and fu*king love it). I'm constantly trying be better at storytelling and figuring out ways to create beautiful content that is engaging and fun to watch. 

Hopefully we will continue to do this with some constancy and as always welcome your feedback and thoughts. 

Museo Frida Kahlo, Mexico City

The Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City is so charming and unique. It's in the house that Frida was born and died in and still has most of the rooms preserved in their original state. The whole space was quite and interesting experience into the life and work of Frida. Her story was told really well however I wish there was more of her work in there. 

Museum of Modern Art Mexico

Here is my take on this museum, its only worth going because its right across from the Anthropology Museum and was only $2 to get in. As a whole the collection was a bit weak and didn't really have anything impressive but worth a very quick stop if you visit the Anthropology Museum.

Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City

I love going to museums, especially when I'm in a new city. I think it teaches you a lot about the local culture and vibe. Most of everyone that I asked for recs told me to check out the Anthropology Museum and it did not let down. It is housed in a really impressive building (pictured above) which in itself was worth checking out. Other things worth noting : the Mayan and Aztec exhibits were the most interesting and the outdoor area at the back of the museum was really well designed and a fun experience. This place was def worth a stop.

Teotihuacan : The Pyramids of Mexico City

I haven't really been to many places in the world that let you experience and be surrounded by remains of ancient civilizations. That's why going to Teotihuacan, the site of the ancient Pyramid of the Sun and Moon, was a particularly special experience. I strongly recommend going here if you are in Mexico City - try to go early in the morning though, right when it opens (I think 8am). There is really no one there at this time and its really surreal walking around by yourself hearing the echo of your own foot steps. You cant help but think about how thousands of people came together to build these structures with no technology whatsoever and would live, worship and play here. Wild.

There is an incredible amount of fascinating history behind this place that you can read about on the wikipedia page

Mexico City Recommendations

I was in Mexico City on assignment with Swarovski and luckily was able to add 2 free days to kick it and explore the city. 2 Days really isn't enough time to get a good feel for Mexico City or see enough of it but I tried to do as much as I can.

It's a really big city that is very populated and busy. Traffic is hell, specially if there is something going on in town, we were there during the Mexican Grad Prix, shitshow! Budget more time than less getting places, it takes forever. I was told not to hail a cab off the street as they will try to rip you off. They have Uber there, which was cheap and super convenient. Use that. Or goto a hotel lobby or designated taxi stand to get cabs. 

It probably one of the safer places in Mexico. I didn't feel threatened or unsafe anywhere we went no matter what time of day it was. The city is alive and lit till late - we did a lot of walking around at night and felt fine. But then again we really did stay in the main areas, didn't really venture too deep into the neighborhoods. 

Oh, and everything is pretty cheap.

I know its not much but here are some places I was able to check out and enjoyed : 


  • Tacotento : There are a few of these around town and had the best tacos I've had in a long time. The spot had a very local authentic vibe to it and was super cheap. Prolly not the best place for a full meal but a great spot for a quick taco. 
  • Tostadas Coyoacan : Tucked away in the middle of a local bazar near the Frida Kahlo Museum this spot had all sorts of meat and toppings for tostadas on display for you to chose from. Turned out to be the best tostada I've ever had. Def make the trek out here, hit up the museum and then come here for food. Also, I had some of the most bomb elote en vaso at this bazar, def start with that. 
  • Pujol : This is racked as one of the top 10 best restaurants in the world. Everyone I asked for recs told me to check it out. It was about $100 per person for a 6 course meal, which was very reasonable considering the food, ambiance and experience was pretty on point. 


Mexico City Foursquare list with more reviews, photos and tips. 


Mexico City for the First Time

I really have to get better about updating this blog. Truth is I don't really know if anyone if reading this or not. There no feedback loop, no 'like' button for you to hit letting me know that I'm not just speaking to an empty room. Either way, empty room or not, I have to keep telling the story. So once again I promise to make this a regular thing. Here we go...

I'm currently in Mexico City on an assignment for Swarovski. They have a pretty impressive installation at Art Basel Miami in December and the architect of that installation, Fernando Romero, is based in Mexico City. We are down here to document his process to tie into the final video that will tell the story of this piece. That is our primary purpose for being down here but my schedule allowed me to tack on a few days for me to just kick it and explore Mexico City. 

I've never been here before...actually, I did come to Acapulco for spring break in college but I feel like that doesn't count. Even if it did Mexico City is quite different, it's a really big, diverse, very populated city that has a lot going on. I intend to take full advantage of my free time here and check out as much of the city as I can but for now we got off the plane and straight to the taco spot. I am very committed to eating at the hole in the wall, local spot that provides the most authentic experience. So any time I'm in a new city the first thing I do is ask the cab driver where he loves to eat and tell him to just take me there. I've have yet to have a bad first meal. 

More to come, stay tuned.

Am I moving to LA?


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...not quite. However, every time I go to the west coast, I like it just a little bit more. And with this last trip I was pretty convinced that LA was in my future. It's unclear what form that will take considering my unhealthy attachment to New York is at an all time high but I'm open to it. Humai and I were down there for Jeff and Gabi's wedding, we were both invited as guests but they also asked me to shoot their wedding video, which I was thrilled about. I had never shot a wedding and this was the perfect opportunity to see what I would come up with.

We stayed at a less than charming airbnb but it was located in my favorite part of LA, Venice, right in the cut. Abbott Kinney was a few blocks away and so was the beach. In my experience (and I could be totally off) there aren't very many parts of LA that feel like neighborhoods. You cant just wake up and walk to the coffee spot before you start your day. There's a lot of driving to everything goin on there. So for that reason I stopped being annoyed at my shitty airbnb and started enjoying the hood.

This winter I'm planning on going back and having an extended stay, really get a feel for it and possibly explore being bicoastal. My work allows for it and will only benefit from it. Lets see...

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Ok so it may seem a bit ridiculous to rent a convertible when you are traveling, and in most cases it is, but like I mentioned earlier there is a whole lot of driving in this city so you might as well rent a car you enjoy being in. It's clutch.

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Sometimes Humai stops at the perfect spot to take a photo.

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Here is one thing that people are really into and I don't even care for - the beach. My skin, in general, is not very sun friendly and why the fuck would I want to go tanning. So I kind of just shrug when people out there brag about living close to the beach.

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Really love the visuals in Venice.

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Went to Runyon and was super underwhelmed. Not sure what all the fuss is about.

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LA Selfie

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More dope visuals in Venice.

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This is the first trip I didnt have my SLR on me. I only shot with my phone or the Sony RX-100, my pocket cam.

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Went to LACMA and saw a great exhibit on Islamic Art, glad we caught that.

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My gear + all the gear I rented to shoot Jeff and Gabi's wedding. Here is a little preview of the video...

A video posted by Atif Ateeq (@atifateeq) on

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Urban Cowboy : The Perfect Staycation
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When I was fist introduced to Urban Cowboy it seemed like the perfect concept : a bread and breakfast smack in the middle of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, providing a transformative, comfortable experience away from the chaos of the city with a cabin built in it's back yard. I had to try it.

Humai and I booked the cabin and planned a little staycation weekend. As soon as we arrived we were met by Lauren, the newly appointed caretaker, who welcomed us with warmth and urged us to join her for a drink once we were all settled in. As soon as you walk into the cabin you forget that you are in Brooklyn, it's beautifully curated with the right furniture and decor. We didn't even unpack before we started posing around taking photos... it was hard not to.

The rest of the weekend was spent hanging around relaxing, being offered many drinks and snacks, meeting and befriending other guests that we staying there, and forgetting about real life for a bit. I don't do very many strong recommendations on this blog but if you are traveling to NY or are from here and just want to get away for a bit you have to try Urban Cowboy... oh and don't forget to sign the guestbook.


A video posted by Atif Ateeq (@atifateeq) on

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