“Are you really ready to die for a pic?”
That’s what one Instagram user asked after seeing a photo of Belgian couple Camille and Jean kissing while dangling out of a moving train in Sri Lanka. They posted the dangerous-looking shot on May 2 on their account @BackpackDiariez.
While some of their 211,000 followers called the shot “epic” and “perfection,” others blasted the pair from Brussels — whose bio says they’re on an “indefinite honeymoon” — for setting a risky example for wannabe influencers.
“Lots of people are going to try this and injure themselves or worse,” wrote @SheKissedToKill. Nikotil commented, “WOW! What a foolish thing to do… It’s amazing what people do for some likes.” Chimed in @RebeccaVamoComigo, “And this how people die, folks! :)”
This week, Camille defended their dramatically captured smooch in an interview with The Cut.
“When we took the picture, the train was moving at a walking speed and the edge was not deep at all,” Camille wrote in an email. “We would never risk our lives or our health to get a good picture. We care too much for each other for that.”
While Camille and Jean use a self-timer to take most of their photos, the Sri Lanka train shot required an extra pair of hands. Jean’s brother, who was traveling with them, took about 500 photos over the course of one hour to get the daredevil-esque shot, which they captioned with a list of how it embodied their relationship.
The photo was also taken after extensive research, Camille added.
“This train ride is very famous in Sri Lanka, and we had seen many pictures on social media of people hanging out of the doors, so we knew we wanted to try this and prepared for it in advance,” Camille said. “We did some research to find out what the best time of the day would be to take it, what side of the train has better views, what colour the train would be, etc.”
This particular locomotive, in fact, has become Instagram bait. Raquel and Miguel, a traveling couple from Portugal who post under the handle @Explorerssaurus, were also roundly criticized for their lovey-dovey interaction hanging out of the same train.
Raquel and Miguel asked a random passenger to shoot their photo, according to The Cut. They have said the train was barely moving when they were posing.
Another traveling couple, Louisiana native Kelly Castille and Michigander Kody Workman, got slammed last month after posting a photo in Bali, Indonesia, that showed Workman holding Kelly over the edge of a swimming pool.
The couple, who have been traveling together for a year and a half and post their romantic snaps at @positravelty, explained that below a dangling Kelly was another pool “that we cropped out of the shot for dramatization.” If she had fallen, they added, she would have splashed into the other one, then climbed out to try the suspension pose again.
The risks of getting the perfect shot for social media are well documented. About 259 people have died taking selfies since 2011, according to a 2018 study in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, most commonly by drowning, being hit by traffic or falling.