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The Dark Side of the Lens

“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 a living worth scrapping. If there’s no future in it at least its a present worth remembering; for everything that brought us to that point on earth at that moment in time to do something worth remembering worth a photograph or a scar.

I never be a rich man but if I live long enough Ill certainly have a tail or two for the nephews….and I dig the thought of that.”

The first Relentless Energy Short Stories film by renowned photographer and bodyboarder Mickey Smith, explores his world as a true waterman – both as an athlete and artist, and is called The Dark Side of The Lens. “Originally I planned for the film to be more anonymous, rather than biographical, an all encompassing piece, to represent the photographers keeping the surfing machine afloat”, explains Smith.

Something that offers insight into what it takes to grind out a living as a water-based photographer in the surfing industry: a short experimental glimpse at a life lived in the shadow of obsessive photographic pursuits. Some questions in the film hit home for me after my “It also gave me the chance to ask myself a few questions, like, if you’re always observing and documenting what you see and experience, are you ever truly present? Questions like that where I could step back think and then see what the answers were”, Smith says.

As well as documenting various voices and experiences across surf photography, Smith worked with Allan Wilson from the Astray Collective, who acted as Director of Photography on the project. Together they logged hours of footage across the Atlantic coastline, traveling around Ireland, Cornwall and Manchester. Shot in Super 16mm film, as well as groundbreaking work with Canon 5D mk11 Digital SLR, Smith also projected images of the huge walls of water within which he works, on to monster urban landscapes such as sky rises and castles in Manchester, as well as the cliff lines at his home of Ireland.

More from the Relentless Energy Shorts HERE

  • Mike, this is incredible! I totally see this being you – your life, your work, your art.

  • Wow, what David said. I think you got this figured out. Keep exploring, keep living.

  • I found this quote today and serendipitously watch this video again on your blog…in my brain they fit perfectly.

    “The world always looks straights ahead; as for me, I turn my gaze inward, I fix it there and keep it busy. Everyone looks in front of him: as for me, I look inside me: I have no business but with myself; I continually observe myself, I take stock of myself, I taste myself. Others…they always go forward; as for me, I roll about in myself.”