We all know what it’s like when you’ve got something you should be doing but the ever present lure of the internet sucks you in. When Miranda July was writing her screenplay for The Future, her procrastination knew no bounds. She started reading the PennySaver, a classifieds booklet that comes weekly with the junk mail. Michael was selling a leather jacket for $10. She wondered what sort of person would place that ad so she called him up and asked if she could interview him.

It Chooses You contains the interviews of the people she meets through the PennySaver, accompanied by photographs by Brigitte Sire. In the age of the internet I can understand the intrigue of these people that go for a more personal approach to selling their random stuff. Miranda asks them all if they use a computer and the answer is mostly not really. It’s a little peek into the lives of others. And is quite touching in places though I did worry a bit about the sanity of some. It’s certainly not the LA most of us imagine.

The photographer side of me loved the photographs. They’re the kind of documentary photos that aren’t going to blow you away but reveal a lot about the people, from portraits to items in their homes. There’s a project called 100 Strangers whereby you approach a stranger and ask to take their photo and have a bit of a chat at the same time. Some use this as a way to improve their photography but others use it to document a little part of other people’s lives. Miranda’s project reminded me a little of this but with a wonderfully unique slant.

The following videos contain snippets from Miranda’s interviews:

DINA Conair Hair Dryer $5

ANDREW Bullfrog Tadpoles $2.50 each

JOE Fifty Christmas-Card Fronts $1

Miranda also talks a little about the film-making of The Future from the script to the inclusion of one of the people she met through the PennySaver ads. If you’ve seen the film, I’m sure the book would give you a bit of insight into it.

It Chooses You is published in the UK by Canongate and is available now in a hardback edition with a cover based on one of Joe’s limericks (you can spot it in his video if you look carefully). Thanks go to Canongate for providing me with a copy to review.

Watch Miranda talking about It Chooses You
Trailer for The Future