Rob Amberg was born in Washington, DC, in 1947. Educated in Catholic schools, he graduated from the University of Dayton in 1969. He 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. It won the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award from the Western North Carolina Historical Association. 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.
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 in books, magazines, and journals and is exhibited internationally. He is the recipient of awards from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, the North Carolina Humanities Council, the North Carolina Arts Council, the Center for Documentary Studies, and others. Amberg’s photographs are in numerous permanent collections and his archive will be housed in the Rubenstein Rare Books and Manuscript Room at Duke University. In 2004, he had the honor of presenting Sodom Laurel Album at the Library of Congress.
Amberg lives on a small farm in Madison County, North Carolina.
At Cricket's Birthday Party, Big Pine, Madison County, NC 2012
Cas Wallin Singing at Home, Sodom, Madison County, NC 1984
Sylvester Walker’s Grand-daughter in the Yard, Spivey’s Corner, NC, 1989.
NCDOT Geologist Rick Lockamy Reading Blueprint on Future I-26, Sprinkle Creek, Madison County, NC, 1994.