Dickie, now known as Knuckles, was the first traveler who Michael Joseph photographed for his "Lost and Found" series. Joseph noticed Knuckles, he said, because "he had an interesting anchor tattoo on his face and a very distinct look about him for a hitchhiker." The two first met in Las Vegas in 2011, and by chance they crossed paths three years later in Chicago.
Joseph said he met Molly in New Orleans. "Molly, along with many travelers, rides the rails in search of work as did the hobos of the 1930s," Joseph said. Joseph also learned that escapism is common among travelers. "Many travelers have a past that hurts so badly but also in a sense makes them so beautiful. Their pasts and open souls allow them to form bonds with one another like a family."
Joseph met Parker in Austin, Texas. "She is an example of how someone can physically look timeworn yet still so beautiful at the same time," he said. "She rides trains but also stops to work for periods of time."
"I met and photographed this traveler in New Orleans," Joseph said. "Travelers often have face tattoos. Some are common, such as the symbol for 'squatter's rights,' while others are personal. The jug with the XXX is a moonshine jug, and the triple X means that the shine has been run through the still three times so it's almost pure alcohol."
"I met Morgan on the street in Boston," Joseph said. "She hopped trains in a different decade than those who are currently riding. She has since settled and takes care of two children. Morgan pointed out that when she was riding, no one had cell phones to communicate or figure out where to go the way modern travelers can."
"I had heard about Dice, a very well-known traveler, from many other travelers," Joseph said. "I walked past him on the streets of New Orleans and stopped him. He gave me just five frames and we talked. Traveling was his addiction in life. Even after losing an arm and a leg from hopping trains, he was back hopping six months later. He was the nicest guy."
"I met Wreka in Austin, Texas," Joseph said. "She was part of a street band and was on a short break from performing. I was drawn to her eyes. She only gave me a few minutes to make a portrait. "
"Ekasah is one of the most well-known and well-loved travelers in New Orleans," Joseph said. "I met him and we chatted for a bit. He is Native American Indian (from five generations) and grew up on a reservation. He left at the age of 18 to explore this subculture -- more for the adventure aspect at first."
"I met and photographed Bubbles in Harvard Square, which is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts," Joseph said. She told him that riding trains sort of feels like being on a roller coaster: You're scared, but it provides an adrenaline rush that makes you want to do it again.
"I first met 'Shameless' in Austin, Texas." Joseph said. "This image was taken on the side of a parking garage. It is one of my favorites. I have photographed Shamus twice since we first met. He gets his name from his quick-witted, shameless personality. As soon as I lifted the camera, he lets down his guard."
"I met Ireen in New Orleans this past October just before Halloween," Joseph said. "She was new to traveling, and I asked her a bit about what it is like to be a female traveler. She told me, 'I travel by myself so I worry about sleeping alone. You never know if there going to be someone who tries to take advantage of your situation.' "
"I photographed 'Puke' in New Orleans," Joseph said. "It took me a few attempts to get this photograph, and she only gave me five minutes or so. Her appearance is an example of riders who might be into the punk-music scene, which is really how much of the late '80s and '90s travelers were. Her 'skank' or handkerchief is commonly worn as an identifier and also used wet to avoid suffocation while traveling through tunnels."
"I met Tony on the streets of Austin, Texas," Joseph said. "He had only been traveling for a year and half at this time." Tony told Joseph that his experience so far had been good. "I've been able to meet a lot of good people and play a lot of good music." But he's seen some bad as well: "I agree that it's about freedom, but a lot of (travelers) are depressed." Joseph found out that "drugs and alcohol can often be an inescapable trap."