Sodom Laurel Album
The story of one Appalachian community told through photographs, words, and music. Richly evocative images are interlaced with stories of Dellie Norton and the people of Sodom Laurel and with Amberg’s own candid journals, which reveal his gradually growing understanding of this world he entered as a stranger more than twenty years ago. The book also includes a CD featuring Dellie Norton, Doug Wallin, and other singers of traditional Appalachian music. Through words, photographs, oral histories, and songs, Sodom Laurel Album tells the moving story of a once-isolated community on the brink of change, the people who live there, and the music that binds them together.
Recipient of the 2003 Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award from the Western North Carolina Historical Society
“Rob Amberg captures the daily life of this community faithfully, scrupulously, beautifully. This book is not only a priceless record of a vanishing way of life: it’s a work of art. It deserves every prize out there.”
“Rob Amberg’s images have the same durability and tenacity as the lives they depict. He is trusted well enough to be there, up close, when the women embrace in affection or when the farmer pauses in the heat. And Amberg does not betray that trust. What we see is sympathetic, not sentimental, simple but not facile. Amberg makes real what is found on the pages of the southern novel.”
“If not for [Amberg, these] stories might pass into the dust of memory. But thanks to him, they live on these pages, and tell their stories, and their existence on this earth is given dignity and meaning and reverence.”
“You come away with a deep understanding of the hardships and glories that made up Dellie Norton’s life, her community, and her adventures in this world. And Amberg’s photographs of Junior transcend the document, even go beyond everyday life, and arrive at a new visionary depiction of the shared experience of being human.”