Travelers Lost in Thought: “The Halted Traveler” by Damien Rayuela

Damien Rayuela

When I was in Paris for the Leica + Magnum event, I had the huge pleasure of shooting and staying with Damien Rayuela. Not only is Damien an incredibly talented and passionate street photographer, but he was also worked at Magnum as an intern (this may explain his great photographic vision).

Looking at his work, I was particularly fascinated with his “The Halted Traveler” project in which Damien captures people staring out into a landscape, deep in thought. Keep reading to see the images from the project, and also a multi-media video he put together as well.

He describes his project on his site:

The term “halted traveller” is usually associated with German romantic painters like Caspar David Friedrich, to describe a person seen from behind facing a lanscape. The lonely wanderer appears to have been halted by the view of the landscape.

This implies to us as a viewer that there is perhaps more to the landscape than we see. One can also identify with the figure. His posture invites you to imagine what he feels facing this landscape in front of his and your eyes.

Images from The Halted Traveler

Damien Rayuela

Damien Rayuela

Damien Rayuela

Damien Rayuela

Damien Rayuela

Damien Rayuela

The Halted Traveler Multi-Media Video

What do you think about Damien’s project–would you be interested in doing something similar? Leave a comment below and show him some love!

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  • Anonymous

    The little girl sitting on someone’s shoulders with those butterfly wings.. and that color palette.. is absolutely amazing, Damien. The imagination of a child radiates from her and draws one in to imagine how she must be seeing the colorful world in front of her. I love this project actually as I am much better at shooting people from behind though I remember a certain someone [Eric] telling me to shoot their faces. ; ) For me shooting from behind is taking in what the subject is seeing or interacting with thus inviting the viewer to actively step up and do the same. Putting this into practice.. just stand on a street corner and look up. Soon others will be looking up along side you.

  • Cnanderson

    That’s really cool. It would be a fun thing to try. It also makes me think of doing the opposite. Having the person be facing to the side and capturing their expression to something we cannot see. I like the mystery of not knowing what the person is reacting to.

    • Claire

      I was wondering the same thing. I have just returned from Portugal where I have captured an image of a man from the side, waiting for a train. His expression makes one wonder what else he is waiting for. Damien have you bent the rules for this project or is it strictly from behind?

    • Anonymous

      An excellent idea as well. One might be able to even combine the two, from behind and from the side as you could naturally orient yourself as you take the photos to get each perspective by just walking past the individual/s. It could be done as a two part presentation, as a question- to see the person’s expression and then an answer- to see what they are reacting to.

  • Simon Wallerstedt

    Interesting idea and great photos!

  • ewanglee

    Beautiful project. It makes you stop and think.

  • Cindy

    damien, your projects are utterly amazing! keep up the great work. you really have a knack for putting together unique and profound projects

  • Claire

    I just went through my own collection and was happy to find a few more of those images. I have blogged about this post and Damien’s work:

    Thanks for the inspiration. Look forward to Damien’s answer to my question below.

    Have a great weekend!

  • beth

    i love these photos. for some reason, i have this odd like love for strangers and photograph them often. due to my sneakiness, most of them are from behind, just like this :)

  • beth

    oops, this is where i live :)

  • Marco Fiori

    What an interesting concept and project. I agree with most, the girl’s a particularly strong image.

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