Dark Side Of The Lens presents the art and inner voice of Irish surf photographer Mickey Smith.

Smith worked with Allan Wilson (director of photography) from the Astray Collective to present a side to surfing that few of us, as observers or surfers, will glimpse: the life of the photographer. What drives him to spend countless hours in cold and hostile waters in search of a single shot?

“I wanted to create that something that would give insight into what it takes to grind out a living as a water-based photographer in the surfing industry,” Smith explains, “to provide a short, experimental glimpse into life lived in the shadow of what is, for me, an obsessive pursuit.”

The six minute film lets you experience Smith’s aesthetics translated into beautiful practice. 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…”

There is an interesting sub-text to the film, too. If your life is spent simply observing and documenting what you see, are you ever really present? It’s this willingness to go unnoticed, to hide in the shadows and sacrifice personal notoriety for the sake of one’s art, that remains a hallmark of the very best “watermen”. Mickey Smith is no exception.