Pub. Date:
The University of North Carolina Press
Sodom Laurel Album / Edition 1

Sodom Laurel Album / Edition 1

by Rob Amberg


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When photographer Rob Amberg first met Dellie Norton and her adopted son, Junior, in 1975, Norton was seventy-six years old and had lived most of her life in the small mountain community of Sodom Laurel, North Carolina, surrounded by close kin, tobacco fields, and the rugged wilderness of the southern Appalachians. Sodom Laurel Album traces the growing relationship between Norton and Amberg across the next two decades, years marked by the seasons of raising and harvesting food and tobacco and by the gatherings of family and friends for conversation, storytelling, and music.

Richly evocative images are interlaced with stories of 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. 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.

Sodom Laurel Album is the companion publication to a traveling exhibition that will open at the Asheville Art Museum in November 2002.

This project received support from the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency funded by the State of North Carolina and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807827420
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 11/04/2002
Series: Lyndhurst Books
Edition description: 1
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.81(d)

About the Author

Rob Amberg is an award-winning photographer and writer who does assignment work for nonprofit organizations, foundations, and publications. He lives in Madison County, North Carolina. Dellie Chandler Norton (1898-1993) was a much-loved storyteller and ballad singer whose songs were recorded by Alan Lomax and John Cohen. In 1990, she received a North Carolina Folk Heritage Award.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

This story is not always a pretty one—it has its share of pain and conflict—but it captures the full dimensions of life in Sodom Laurel, and by doing so, it reminds us of the warmth, strength, and compassion that also marked the lives of the people who lived there. This book reminds us of the dignity and nobility that lie in ordinary places and ordinary people, without a trace of condescension.—Bill Malone

If we want to record the lives of the most rural mountain people, we want someone like Amberg to do it. . . . The pictures and stories illustrate [a] subtle, inevitable progression. Amberg has made a good record.—Now & Then

Amberg has skillfully crafted the profound narrative of a community, a family, and most exquisitely, a woman constantly on the brink of change. . . . [He] has assimilated meaning into image and supported those images with the stories, interviews, and music that bind the community of Sodom Laurel together.—Appalachian Life

In this magnificent ensemble of images and voices, Amberg always sees rightly and pitilessly. He lays before us a vista of place and people, not just to delight the eye but to invite praise. A luminous spirit of uncommon folk at labor, play, music-making, and love envelopes this beautiful work in an aura of strangeness.—Alan Trachtenberg

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