Saturday, May 7, 2011
Video Verite- William Petrick
In our media-saturated world, the line between reality and fiction has grown thinner and more confusing. With sharp, clear prose and an insider's view of the media, Petrick's stories take us into a hall of mirrors where men and women struggle to understand themselves and their relationships with one another. In a climate defined by images, does love stand a chance when no one is certain what is real? In the title story, an accomplished skydiver goes airborne with a video camera to capture the love of his life, but a small oversight upends his best intentions. In "Sins of the Father," a man arriving in Huntsville, Texas, to commute his son's death sentence clashes with a documentary producer intent on chasing the story to its bitter end. In "Telling Time," a corporate video producer, conflicted by his own immoral conduct, learns that sometimes the absolute truth is the most effective lie.
Video Verite and Other Stories marks my second attempt at a book by William Petrick. In September of 2010, I read my first book by the author entitled The Five Lost Days. Unfortunately I was unable to finish and I had to retire the book to my ‘did not complete pile’. You can read all about the experience here.
With Video Verite and Other Stories, the experience was different. Firstly this book is a compilation of short stories. Due to its size, I was able to finish the entire book in just a few hours.
Also most, if not all of the stories are centered on one theme, the blurred lines between reality and fiction. When you think about it, it is quite germane of today’s society. The stories are also mostly focused around people/characters who are either directly involved in photography or there is an element of the art form in each story. Petrick is an Emmy Award winning documentary producer/director who lives behind the camera so it was quite interesting to see his interpretations on things.
The stories moved quickly as is expected with short stories. The author has only a short space of time to establish a character, introduce the problem and find a resolution (not in that particular order). Admittedly I liked all of the characters as they each carried their stories well.
While I enjoyed the book, I’m not sure if this one is for everyone. There is a lot of photography jargon that at times just flies right over your head. However once you continue on with the story you may gain an appreciation for it.
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