Dark Side of the Lens: A Poetic Short Film by Surf Photographer Mickey Smith

Dark Side of the Lens presents the art and inner voice of Irish surf photographer Mickey Smith. The six minute film lets you experience Smith’s aesthetics translated into beautiful practice. (“I wanna see waveriding documented the way I see it in my head, and the way I feel it in the sea.”) But then it rather poetically cracks open the personal philosophy of the artist:

I never set out to become anything in particular, only to live creatively and push the scope of my experience for adventure and for passion… The raw brutal cold coastlands for the right waveriders to challenge – this is where my heart beats hardest…

Most folk don’t even know who we are, and what we do or how we do it, let alone what they pay us for it. I never want to take this for granted so I try to keep motivation simple, real, and positive… If I only scrape a living, at least it’s a living where I’m scraping…. If there’s no future in it, this is a present worth remembering.

The aesthetic choices. The personal decisions. It’s all what’s happening behind the camera, the place no audience sees, the “dark side of the lens.” You can find the full transcript of Smith’s commentary after the jump…

A final note: Dark Side of the Lens was born out of a project called “Short Stories.” Established by Relentless Energy Drink, the UK-based project challenged filmmakers to create their own mini opus, to explore and celebrate “no half measures” in film. Find other shorts here.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newsletter, please find it here.

If you would like to support the mission of Open Culture, consider making a donation to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best free cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere. You can contribute through PayPal, Patreon, and Venmo (@openculture). Thanks!


by | Permalink | Comments (10) |

Support Open Culture

We’re hoping to rely on our loyal readers rather than erratic ads. To support Open Culture’s educational mission, please consider making a donation. We accept PayPal, Venmo (@openculture), Patreon and Crypto! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (10)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • Robert says:

    That’s one of the best ‘surf videos’ I’ve ever seen. Really captures the feeling of being immersed the wet, cold ocean — and loving it. Reminded me of surfing northern California as a kid, all alone, in the fog. Great work!

  • Davor Bakovic says:

    This is fascinating and beautiful video work.Some scenes,like rain drops on the surface,waves overpowering all,dive under the surface into the quite and green.
    Sometimes music is too loud and disturbing author words.I watched it time after time letting frames and sounds fill space around me.Thanks for this link !!Davor

  • Kristin says:

    this video is awe inspiring. dark, beautiful, brutal with strong accents of light. his words slug someone looking for a reason to follow their gut. I have watched it multiple times and will watch it again and again. honest and straight from a pumping warm heart.

  • jbaysurfer says:

    “If there’s no future in it, (at) least it’s a present worth remembering.”

  • Really cool video dude! really inspiring to see..That’s really the life for the love of outdoor adventure. Great job two thumbs up!

  • remosito says:

    By far my favorite short at this years European Outdoor Film Tour! Just had to find it and the text online.

    Question: Doesn’t he actually say: “If I only scrape a living, at least it’s a living worth scraping.” and not “If I only scrape a living, at least it’s a living where I’m scraping.”

  • Sönke says:

    thank you so so much for that!

  • Wendy says:

    TuckWillow. It has called me for over a year. I finally looked it up. I’m Irish. Why did the words Tuck Willow wake me? Call me? Haunting video. Stunning video. Masterpiece.

  • Mike says:

    Correction, he says “If I only scrape a living, at least it’s a living worth scraping”

  • Andrew says:

    I love the video, I especially love rain falling on the ocean surface, very inspiring, and inspires me to become an even better photographer, and adventure more. very beautiful, very wise, and so heart warming. I thank you.

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.