Photo Essay: A 99U Speaker's Journey

Editor’s Note: 99U speaker Shantanu Starick has traveled the world for the past two years on his Pixel Trade project, bartering his photography for travel and lodging. His time at the 99U Conference was no exception. In exchange for his airfare and accommodation at the conference, Starick agreed to provide us with a compelling photo essay, chronicling his journey from Turkey to New York City.

Photograph 1

I woke up in Armada Pera Hotel, Istanbul, from the humming of the Muslim prayers and a couple ‘playing cards’ on the other side of the plaster walls.

I woke up in Armada Pera Hotel, Istanbul, from the humming of the Muslim prayers and a couple ‘playing cards’ on the other side of the plaster walls.

 

As I headed towards the airport I noticed the ships lining up for the port. While I was observing this, the taxi driver cut through the soft droplets of rain falling from our eager friend, gravity. While he drove, the tires of our car struggled to grip the road.

As I headed towards the airport I noticed the ships lining up for the port. While I was observing this, the taxi driver cut through the soft droplets of rain falling from our eager friend, gravity. While he drove, the tires of our car struggled to grip the road.

 

There are fundamentally three things to do when flying, close your eyes from the onslaught of the dry air and rest, burn your eyes from onboard entertainment and curiosity or look out the window every so often and notice the atlantic blanket never changes.

There are fundamentally three things to do when flying, close your eyes from the onslaught of the dry air and rest, burn your eyes from onboard entertainment and curiosity or look out the window every so often and notice the atlantic blanket never changes.

 

From Istanbul to New York city, the rain continues to play with the taxi drivers.

From Istanbul to New York city, the rain continues to play with the taxi drivers.

 

A dad joke: I asked the horse if I could have a ride on her back and she replied, ‘naayyyy, for  tis’ nobler in the mind to suffer...’

A dad joke: I asked the horse if I could have a ride on her back and she replied, ‘naayyyy, for tis’ nobler in the mind to suffer…’

 

99U conference. I didn’t expose the projected image properly and as a result the message became a pessimistic one instead.

99U conference. I didn’t expose the projected image properly and as a result the message became a pessimistic one instead.

 

I’d like to introduce you to Nortman Taylor & Baboucarr Mboob. I’d also like to know who that woman is photo bombing them. (Ed note: It's Alice Tully, namesake of the venue.)

I’d like to introduce you to Nortman Taylor & Baboucarr Mboob. I’d also like to know who that woman is photo bombing them. (Ed note: It’s Alice Tully, namesake of the venue.)

 

To fall asleep on the streets of NYC is an indication of absolute solitude &... oh no wait he is just listening to beats from Dr. Dre.

To fall asleep on the streets of NYC is an indication of absolute solitude &… oh no wait he is just listening to beats from Dr. Dre.

 

The Speakers dinner I almost missed.

The Speakers dinner I almost missed.

 

To clean yourself is as easy at one, two, three. Note: don’t look to close at this image because the tiles are kind of reflecting the naked man taking this photograph

To clean yourself is as easy at one, two, three. Note: don’t look to close at this image because the tiles are kind of reflecting the naked man taking this photograph

 

While we are all inspired by the Speakers, this girl found something far more interesting in her cocoon. Note I lost the business card of the mother and would love to send this image to her if anyone knows who she is.

While we are all inspired by the Speakers, this girl found something far more interesting in her cocoon. Note I lost the business card of the mother and would love to send this image to her if anyone knows who she is.

 

Backstage with Matias, Scott and Jocelyn.

Backstage with Matias, Scott and Jocelyn.

 

Gearing up for the next set of Speakers.

Gearing up for the next set of Speakers.

 

A photograph of the audience after my talk. I asked everyone to turn around except for one gentlemen in the middle. I didn’t catch his name.

A photograph of the audience after my talk. I asked everyone to turn around except for one gentlemen in the middle. I didn’t catch his name.

 

I return to the Ace Hotel to rest and contemplate whether impact was made or not.

I return to the Ace Hotel to rest and contemplate whether impact was made or not.

 

The after party dropping beats out the front.

The after party dropping beats out the front.

 

I found a group of people and asked them to pose for an image they’d like to send to their parents...

I found a group of people and asked them to pose for an image they’d like to send to their parents…

 

Saturday was spent resting and watching Lincoln. I was wondering what he was contemplating on his podium...

Saturday was spent resting and watching Lincoln. I was wondering what he was contemplating on his podium…

 

Ohhhh, he was trying to figure out what the fuck these numbers meant.

Ohhhh, he was trying to figure out what the fuck these numbers meant.

More insights on: Achievement

Shantanu Starick

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Shantanu Starick is an international photographer and founder of The Pixel Trade project, a photographic journey to all seven continents of the globe. In exchange for life’s basic necessities Starick trades his skills as a professional photographer, reintroducing the bartering system into day-to-day life. 
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