Imagined States Of America

Imagined-States-of-America HotDocs 2015Header-image-Karalee-ThorupBy Karalee Thorup

(TORONTO, ON) – Pierre Guimond started taking pictures of his travels around the United States in 1998 and continued to do so for the following ten years. His aim was to show the ever changing landscape, culture, and over all image of the country.

While this idea is good in theory, and his point is meaningful, sitting for 45 minutes to watch a photo montage is a bit taxing.

The film is composed of his altered photos superimposed over one another and edited in different ways. While the photos change, there is a narrator, captions, or just music playing in the background. The narrator and captions are pointing out different trends, facts, and stats in American culture.

The photo work is done exceptionally well with seamless transitions between pictures and the editing adding an artistic touch to the layout.

The film tries to exemplify the idea that America has been trying to live out this, Leave it to Beaver lifestyle that was sparked by the 1964 World’s Fair. The fair boasted a bright, happy, and achievable future for Americans but, as the film goes on to explain, this dream was better in idea than reality.

While this theory on their lifestyle is sound, it is not at all ground breaking, new, exciting, or anything most people have not heard before. Although it is presented in a more artistic manner, this too falls flat and is not enough to hold ones attention.

Imagined States of America does a good job of explaining its theory and has a kickass photo montage. Whether or not it is enjoyable to watch is another thing.

(Imagined States of America, Canada, 2014, 45 minutes, photographer Pierre Guimond, filmmaker Alberta Nokes, 2015 HotDocs Film Festival, Toronto, April 27/29/30)

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About the Author

Ian Shalapata
Ian writes for and provides imagery to Square Media Group as well as accepting freelance photographic assignments. In addition, he has contributed to media organizations, sporting groups, and individuals across North America including the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, Chatham-Kent Sports Network, the Golf Association of Michigan, League 1 Ontario, as well as numerous colleges and universities in Canada and the United States. Email Ian Shalapata
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