Words by James Price & Lenka Clayton
This is first in a series of four films – People In Order – commissioned by the UK’s Channel 4 in 2006. The concept behind our films was simple: we asked ourselves if you can reveal something about life by simply arranging people according to scales. Three minutes is a very short time to communicate something – perhaps too short to tell a story, or to get to know a character – so we wanted to make this series by setting ourselves some very straightforward rules, and then following them through over a long trip. The rules had to be simple so it would take the audience virtually no time to understand them.
We established what scales we’d look at, and then chose how each film would be framed. Then it was a case of getting in a camper van and driving round Britain, filming as many people as we could over 4 weeks in February, coping with microphones crackling and our camera refusing to work.The experience was exhausting but also life affirming. In our whole trip we were struck by how happy people were to help. Only a handful of our shoots were arranged in advance. We relied instead on the kindness of strangers - and we found that everywhere, from deprived urban estates to rural aristocrats.
The resulting films are like a list of government statistics where the citizens they are referring to have broken out from behind the figures on the page. The people on the screen stop us from seeing them as numbers. Even in single second bursts there are worlds of personality stretching out in front of us. The films are really about our awe at how big life is, infinite in its variety, even when it seems just normal to each of us living it.
Find out out more about Field Studies and Lenka Clayton
"The experience was exhausting but also life affirming. In our whole trip we were struck by how happy people were to help. Only a handful of our shoots were arranged in advance. We relied instead on the kindness of strangers - and we found that everywhere, from deprived urban estates to rural aristocrats."
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