Rob Amberg at CDS Photo

Photography and Personal Narrative

Rob Amberg moved to Madison County, North Carolina, in 1973 and began what has become his lifetime project – writing and photographing about the evolving culture and environment of his adopted county. His first book, Sodom Laurel Album, was published in 2002 by the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke and the University of North Carolina Press. His second book from Madison County, The New Road: I-26 and the Footprints of Progress in Appalachia, was published in 2009 by the Center for American Places at Columbia College Chicago and the University of Georgia Press. To complete the trilogy, a third book, tentatively titled ShatterZone, is in progress.   His work combines powerful photographic images, oral history and personal reflections.  As part of his ongoing work on his book-length project, he now publishes a blog that combines current and archival images with personal reflections (and occasional poetry!).  Visit him at

Throughout his career Amberg has been on staff or done assignment work for non-profit organizations and philanthropic foundations. His work has largely focused on rural communities, family farms, and the environment. His work is regularly published and exhibited nationally. He is the recipient of awards from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the North Carolina Humanities Council, the Center for Documentary Studies, and others. His photographic legacy will be permanently housed in the Archive of Documentary Arts in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, joining the work of other great American and international photographers.

Rob’s Plans for Doe Branch Ink:

Rob’s workshop will involve samples of his own work, sharing of participant projects, and shooting and writing opportunities in Madison County.  Basic proficiency is digital photography is assumed, and participants should bring their own cameras and laptop computers.   A large high resolution monitor will be available for group discussions and shared work.