- A travel influencer couple received mixed responses after they posted a photo which showed them hanging off the side of a moving train in Sri Lanka.
- Camille Demyttenaere and Jean Hocke of @Backpackdiariez were branded “crazy,” “terrifying,” and “so dangerous” for the stunt.
- However, the couple told INSIDER the photo is “a bit of an optical illusion,” and they deliberately made it look more dramatic than it actually was.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
An Instagram travel couple who were criticized for a “dangerous” photo of them hanging out of a moving train over a deep valley say the image was “a bit of an optical illusion” and taking it was not actually as dangerous as it appears.
The photo in question was posted on the Instagram account @backpackdiariez, which is run by Belgian couple Camille Demyttenaere, 32, and Jean Hocke, 34, and has 204,000 followers.
It shows the couple kissing while hanging out of a train travelling from Ella to Kandy in Sri Lanka. They captioned the shot: “One of our wildest kisses.”
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ONE OF OUR WILDEST KISSES ???? We couldn’t think of a better picture to describe our couple: 1. Blind trust in each other, no matter what ???? 2. Madly in love ❤️ 3. Always having the need to do something different with our lives ????????♂️ 4. Living on the edge (sometimes a bit too much) ???? 5. Usually on the run ???? 6. Having fun whenever we can ???????? 7. Organized chaos ???? What is according to you the most important foundation of a strong couple? #srilanka #srilankatrip #travelcouple #ella #travelbucketlist #travelholic #travelcommunity #wanderlove #loveandwildhearts #dirtybootsandmessyhair #traveltogether #speechlessplaces
While some people loved the photo, describing it as “incredible,” “epic,” and “so romantic,” others criticized the couple for the stunt.
“Do you wanna die because this is how you can die,” commented one person.
Others called the photo “insane,” “terrifying,” “crazy,” and “so dangerous.”
But Demyttenaere and Hocke have now explained that the angle made it look more dramatic than it really was.
The pair told INSIDER they’d prepared to take the photo in advance: “The train ride from Ella to Kandy in Sri Lanka is very famous because it passes through gorgeous scenery and the doors are open,” Demyttenaere said.
“We had seen many pictures on the internet of people hanging out of the doors so we were excited to try this and prepared for it in advance.”
Although the train is moving, Demyttenaere said that it travels very slowly through the scenic landscapes – it was moving “at a walking speed” at the time their photo was taken – and lots of people hang out of the doors.
“It’s kind of the thing to do on this train,” she said.
Indeed, there are lots of photos of people hanging out of the train on Instagram, even if they aren’t quite as dramatic as Demyttenaere and Hocke’s.
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???????? #Throwback ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #worlderlust #sidewalkerdaily #lovetheworld #timeoutsociety #simplyadventure #welivetoexplore #stayandwander #passionpassport #welltravelled #visualsoflife #femmetravel #visitsrilanka #globelletravels #wearetravelgirls #nomadicfare #traveldeeper
In fact, Demyttenaere and Hocke were inspired by a similar photo taken by two of their friends, fellow travel influencer couple Raquel and Miguel of @explorerssaurus_.
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We are all on a long journey, with problems to solve, lessons to learn, but most of all, experiences to enjoy ???????? For where are you now ???? and where you will go ✈️, for “I’ve always known” ????♂ and “I told you so” ????, for “nothing is happening” ????♀ and “all has gone wrong” ???? just go out there ???? and don’t wait too long ⌛… No matter what happens, make sure you always enjoy this wonderful ride called life ♥️ When was the last time you went on a trip and wher did you go? ✄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄ #travellingourplanet #wondeful_places #bestvacations #living_destinations #travelcouple #togetherforever #coupleshoot #srilanka #srilankatrip #wanderlove
“We did some research to find out what the best time of the day would be to take the picture, what side of the train has better views, what colour the train would be etc… to plan for the shoot in advance,” she said.
“Firstly, what you do not clearly see on the picture is that there is a second step under the door, on which Jean has his foot.
“He was leaning back holding his own weight, and I was leaning forward holding my own weight. So Jean was definitely not holding my weight which makes the pose much safer.
“Secondly, the train was moving at a very slow pace which made the risk of a collision with another object almost non-existent.”
She went on: “Lastly the angle creates a bit of an optical illusion that we are hanging above a cliff but the reality is that the train was passing over a bridge that was wider than it appears in the picture as Jean’s brother [taking the photo] was hanging far out of the window and the train was turning.”
She said that even if one of them had slipped, they would have fallen onto the bridge (which can be seen more clearly in some of the other images above), and not off the cliff.
“When shooting this picture we were looking to find an angle that would make the picture look more dramatic than it actually was,” she said. “It is part of the artistic process.”
She added that they weren’t scared because they were “in total control” of the situation.
“It definitely created a good dose of excitement and adrenaline but we were never really scared,” Demyttenaere added.
“We have done photoshoots in other situations where we were scared such as a shoot in French Polynesia between sharks or a shoot in India high up a wall in Jaipur.”
The couple stress, however, that they aren’t encouraging people to put their lives at risk for the sake of a cool photo.
“We are conscious about some of the criticism this picture has raised and respect everyone’s opinion,” Demyttenaere said. “We created this picture in the first place to express our creativity and produce cool and attractive content.
“It was not and will of course never be our intention to encourage people to perform dangerous stunts for Instagram but in our opinion this shouldn’t limit us in our own work. Every picture we post is the result of a significant thinking and planning process, it’s our way of expressing ourselves and creating art.
“In the end, people will have to decide for themselves what their own limits are and are responsible for their own actions. In our case, we would never put our lives at risk, we care too much for each other for that.”
This is hardly the first time a travel influencer has been criticiszd for taking a dangerous-looking photo.
In April 2019, Kelly Castille and Kody Workman of Instagram account @positravelty posted a photo showing Castille hanging off the edge of an infinity pool, held up by Workman, which resulted in similar comments.
But Demyttenaere believes it would be wrong to stop influencers from posting these photos.
“Starting to restrict the type of pictures that influencers can take would be like restricting the pieces of art that artists can make and we do not think that would be right,” she said.
“Creating a picture like this one is like creating a piece of art, a lot of work goes into it and there will always be those who like it and those who don’t.
“Having said this, influencers should perhaps communicate more clearly when posting this type of pictures that people should not try to imitate it without a proper preparation or professional help.”