Photographer Travels The World By Trading His Photo Services

Without spending a dime, Australian photographer Shantanu Starick has successfully completed 187 trades, traversed five continents and remained on-the-go for the last 29 months. Inspired by the "sharing economy" Starick has made a full fledged living out of travel and photography with a project he calls The Pixel Trade. Starick has photographed hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, weddings and more in exchange for the basic essentials, transportation and anything else that he needs to survive. 

Since he began his trek in 2012, he has traveled near and far, from India to Ireland, Morocco and the US. Starick's philosophy has been "give a little and you get a lot back" - An easy going approach that is definitely necessary when bartering and adapting to the diverse cultures around the world. Traveling now for over two years, the worst he has faced is "some bad food, awkward conversations and a few reluctant clicks of the camera".

Photo Courtesy of Shantanu Starick
Photo Courtesy of Shantanu Starick
Photo Courtesy of Shantanu Starick
Photo Courtesy of Shantanu Starick
Photo Courtesy of Shantanu Starick
Photo Courtesy of Shantanu Starick

Exploration has always been a driving force behind my work as a photographer, I'm incredibly inspired by Starick's approach to his work and his lifestyle. However, travel is an unsatisfiable hunger. Feeding the need only increases the demand to go further and see more. I sometimes find when traveling for editorial work that it takes some creativity to stretch my budget as far as possible. Perhaps taking a page from Starick's book will open more doors to take photography even further while on the road. Through The Pixel Trade project Starick has seemingly found a way to break the code and remain on the road forever.

Tell us some trades and creative techniques you've used through your photography to keep the journey alive?

Photo Courtesy of Shantanu Starick
Photo Courtesy of Shantanu Starick

via [ & PixelTrade

Photography provided by Shantanu Starick


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Ralph Berrett's picture

Reminds me of college days when I would cover my bar tab trading images of NFL cheerleaders and bud girls to a local bar owner. ;)

Mr Blah's picture

THAT is awesome!

John Flora's picture


Mark leedom's picture

I would like to know more!! Did he mass email or cold call people in the town the week he was there,or did he contact people months ahead of time? Did he travel with others? How hard was it to work in places he's never been before and places where he doesn't speak their language? And does he plan to travel more?

Jason Hudson's picture

As far as his methods you'll have to reach out to the photographer. Take a look through his site; he has all kinds of info about how his system works. I imagine it was rough at first, lots of networking and questionable jobs. I agree with your curiousity... part of why this story inspired me so much!

Pedro Oliveira's picture

I guess that many of us (not to say all) sometime wished to do something like this, or close. Good for the author and all his skills, because you can´t only be a good photographer, need to be much more to have the endeavor climbing the hill of success. It´s a truly inspirational story to me.

Estee Mancini's picture