Thursday, January 10, 2013

Rob Amberg in Residence at Duke University

Distinguished western North Carolina photographer Rob Amberg is spending the 2012-2013 academic year in residency at Duke University in Durham, NC.

Amberg is teaching classes and doing workshops at Duke through Duke's Center for Documentary Studies. He has also just recently had a show of new work in the Friedl- Frederic Jameson Gallery at Duke, go here.

For more on Amberg's residency, go here.

Amberg has spent years living and working in Madison County, North Carolina, where he chronicles the lives and stories of people in isolated mountain areas such as Sodom Laurel.

His work documents changes in the culture of Appalachian North Carolina through portraits of the people who are dealing with economic and social forces reshaping Appalachian North Carolina.

There is a fine interview with Amberg here and here on my friend Roger May's blog Walk Your Camera

Amberg’s first book, Sodom Laurel Albumwas published in 2002 by the University of North Carolina Press and the Center for Documentary Studies. His second book, The New Road: I-26 and the Footprints of Progress in Appalachia was published in 2009 by

You can hear Amberg talk about this project during an earlier visit to Duke if you go here. 

Amberg is currently working on a new project ShatterZone, and you can see some images from that project if you go here.

The Southern Appalachians are a distinctive region where descendants of early English and Scottish settlers, some of whom live in abject poverty, maintain aspects of traditional culture while living next door to wealthy retirees who live in gated communities and shop for high end crafts and dine in gourmet restaurants. Not to mention the folks from Central and South America who have come up to grow Christmas trees.

Amberg lives in the middle of all that, and makes his art out of the complex interactions that the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Interstate highway system have made possible.  He does fine work, well worthy of our attention.

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