In September, Pieter ten Hoopen was nominated for an Emmy for his film, which is the culmination of a decade-long documentation of life in the small town of Hungry Horse in the Rocky Mountains of Montana. The project began when George Bush was re-elected and was fighting terrorism. It was a time when the gap between the rich and the poor widened.
Hungry Horse is a photographic rather than factual documentation of the state of mind of the people of the region and its landscape. Ten Hoopen wanted to get beyond the clichés of a country that many people have very distinct ideas about. Reproduced in movies and books, the stereotypical image of America is alien to most of the inhabitants of this small town in the Rocky Mountains. These are people who have been hit hard by the recession and unemployment. People plagued by drugs, poverty and loneliness.
“The project was like a slow food process. In order to learn to know the people and discover the unique expression of this special condition, it was crucial that I spend as much time as possible with them. After ten years I can confidently say that I have done everything I can to describe the town and the experience of the people who live there.”
The many aspects of the place and the people are brought out in a poetic and emotional work about our society and the time in which we live, sparking as many questions as answers. The images displayed at Fotografiska are ten Hoopen’s artistic interpretation of the state of the place, while the film, in the style of a documentary, provides the people with a platform to express their own views of the situation.
The work has been nominated for an Emmy in the New Approaches: Arts, Lifestyle and Culture category. The exhibition also includes a film by Peter Hoelstad in which journalist Lasse Bengtsson interviews ten Hoopen about the project and shows what happened when Hungry Horse was screened at the local saloon.