The last week in October of 2011 I traveled to Cave-In-Rock Illinois with my mother to visit my grandparents and great aunts. It has been at lease 20 years since I was last in southern Illinois. I had a vague idea of what to expect but my childhood memories are rusty at best. Upon my arrival it was like I was seeing this land and its people for the first time. The small town had not changed much, the population is only 350 and the river still flows in the same direction.
Cave-In-Rock State Park 2011 © Traverse Day Robinette
I primarily worked on photographing family, my grandparent’s house and the surrounding area which borders the Ohio River. Family and old friends would come over throughout the day to share stories and fish along the river’s edge. I found myself still, listening, and looking. Sunset sunrise, ladybugs hatch, looking, listening, being still. Only the river moves in this town with her friend the sun walking across the sky.
Densel, 2011 © Traverse Day Robinette
Garden of the Gods, 2011 © Traverse Day Robinette
Paige, 2011 © Traverse Day Robinette
By the end of my stay I became more interested with objects within the house. Items my grandmother chose to collect or the way she has decided to decorate and furnish rooms. As my departure grew near, my stillness faded and a sense of urgency ran through me. I had thoughts of “what if I never make it back to this beautiful land?” “Will these wonderful people and their stories still be here?” I worked as if with a fever on my last shots down to the wire when I was forced into the car to be taken away. One day I will return, hopefully not before it’s too late.
Fake Fruit, 2011 © Traverse Day Robinette
Rooster, 2011 © Traverse Day Robinette