About Us

Camera Records in Time was formed and founded by Traverse Day Robinette and fellow photographer Sam Quinn in the summer of 2009 out of a desire to create an environment where photographers can habitually come together to support one another artistically and receive feedback about their work.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Spookweird: By Traverse Day Robinette

Spookyweird is a working title to a project I started back in 2009 where I photograph places or objects where something, well spooky or weird happened. But there is more to it than that. I’m currently working on an artist statement and a proper title to explain it all.

The Sink, 2011 © Traverse Day Robinette

I traveled to Southern Illinois to visit my family and to photograph “The Sink” and “The Cave”. The Sink is an area where water fills up a valley and forms a small lake. The Sink is not made by flooding or is fed by a stream. The Ohio River is close by though The Sink is not made or affected by the water level of the river. Only bullhead catfish live in The Sink and they are cannibalistic, feeding only on themselves. Locals in the area will wait for the water level of The Sink to lower to the point where they can go out with buckets and pick up the fish with their hands. Densel, my 94 year old guide, showed me the way to the vantage point where I took this image. He said he knew the owners of the property but when we pulled up no one was home. The whole time I worked with my 4x5 I feared I would be gunned down. Lucky for me The Sink was full and Densel said that sometimes it would be dry for years and he hadn’t been up there in a while to see it. It was amazing to finally see this place that my grandmother so often spoke of.

The Cave, 2011 © Traverse Day Robinette

The Cave is located in Cave-In-Rock along the Ohio River. I have visited The Cave before when I was little but this visit was definitely like seeing it for the first time. The Cave has been used in different ways throughout the years. It has served as a church, general store, brothel, and a hide out for pirates. Its blackness is haunting; alone inside I herd sounds and my mind played tricks on me so I didn’t stay long.

Olivia, 2011 © Traverse Day Robinette

On the drive from the airport heading north through Kentucky I told my mom about my plan to photograph The Sink and The Cave. Detecting I was interested in capturing the oddities of where my grandparents live, she told me of Olivia. My great grandmother was a collector of everything. She always had a particular fancy for an old skeleton that the town doctor had in his office, so much so that when he retired he gave the skeleton to my grandmother. I first imagined that the skeleton was of the ordinary plastic variety found in any regular doctor’s office. My mother corrected me and told me matter of factly that in the old days they used real human bones, this skeleton was very old, and was definitely of the real bones type. She continued to tell me that skeletons used for medical purposes came from India during this time. My family first thought the skeleton was a man but later learned it was a woman changing its original name from Orville to more appropriately feminine name Olivia. Olivia was originally stored in a barn. A tornado hit the town and destroyed the barn but Olivia was lifted up and set back down unharmed. She is now stored in the kitchen of my great grandmother’s old house and sleeps in a pink velvet casket. My great aunts dress her up and take care of her and sometimes bring her out on the porch for Halloween which one year resulted in having the police called. I had never heard of Olivia until this trip to Illinois and was laughing like a nut as I drove my rental car on to the ferry smiling at the idea of the treasures that lie on the other side of this beautiful river.


  1. I can imagine seeing these in a show where you pair the images with the stories. The images are so sinister, they really draw you in, but the stories are more weird than spooky, but they are amazingly bizarre and funny!

  2. Great images, Trav!! I agree with Laura that the stories would do well accompanying the images. However, I don't think the stories need to be as long. For example, I think the craziest part of Olivia is the story about the tornado that destroyed the barn and left Olivia intact. Let the viewer wonder how you came across her, or how your grandmother came to take care of Olivia. The sink is nuts in itself. But maybe the fact that the only fish living it are cannibalistic, yet they still thrive. Part of the fun of weird things is wondering a little bit about them, I think.


  3. First. Olivia! Want her. love her. love the story. this is wonderful. Hooray for dead things! Love the Sink. the image/ story combines the spooky weird pretty tranquil something slightly unsettling... i also really like that this has a personal connection... there's something really great about finding weird stuff, you're the myth buster, medium and when you bring us in for a personal one, it adds a little bit... like you're taking us on all these journies, and then real us in for something, more legit?? I don't want all personal all the time, but this random little surprise, makes these pictures start tying together in a story about you (in an abstract way)... do you know what i mean?

    i want to go to the cave. but this picture is the least exciting for me. of the three. it reminds me of indiana jones which clearly = win.



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