The Dark Side of the Lens
“Try to keep my motivation simple, real and positive. This life is both a blessing and a curse…that I relish.”
Worth watching if not on full screen, with good sound, focus. The most beautiful surfing, powerful entrepreneurship & moving photography video I’ve ever seen.
For all us oddballs who don’t fit in, who sacrifice some comfort for a life full of love.
I’m at 5Point Film Festival in Carbondale. Had drinks in bar, slept on sofa cushions on floor in same house as this filmmaker, Mickey Smith, an insta-idol of mine since I first saw this video six months ago. He’s quiet, humble, focused, and yah: brilliant.
Watch the whole thing, it’s Batman meets Surfing meets Yeats.
Life on the road is something I was raised to embrace. Me Ma always encouraged us to open our eyes and our hearts to the world, make up our own minds for experience of being inspired.
I see life in angles, in lines of perspective, a slight turn of the head, the blink of an eye, subtle glimpses of magic other folk pass by. Cameras help me translate, interpret and understand what I see. It’s a simple act that keeps me grin’n.
I never set out to become anything in particular, only to live creatively and push the scope of my experience for adventure, of a passion. Still all of it means something to me, same as most anyone with dreams.
My heart bleeds Celtic blood and I am magnetized of familiar frontiers: broad, brutal, cold coastlines for the right waveriders to challenge. This is where my heart beats hardest. I try to pay tribute to that magic through photographs, weathering the endless storms for rare glimpses of magic each winter is both a bless’n and a curse I relish. I want to see wave ride’n documented the way I see it in my head and the way I feel it in the sea.
It’s a strange set of skills to begin to acquire. It’s only achievable thru time spent riding waves, all sorts of waves, on all sorts of crafts… means more time learning out in the water. Floating in the sea amongst lonesome swell, you always learn something. It’s been a lifelong wise old classroom teacher of sorts and hopefully it always will be. Buried beneath headlands, sunk in the coast, mind blowing images of empty waves burn away at me. Solid ocean swells powering thru deep cold water.
Heavy waves… waves with weight. Coaxed from comfortable routine, ignite the imagination, convey some divine spark. whisper the possibilities, conjure the situations I thrive amongst enough to document.
You’ll take knocks in the process: broken backs, drownings, near drownings, hyperthermia, dislocations, fractures, frost bite, head wounds, stitches, concussions, broke my arm… and that was just the last couple of years.
Still look forward to getting amongst it each Winter though, cold creeping into your core, driving you mad, day after day mumbling to yourself as you hold position and wait for the next set to come. The Dark Side of the Lens – an art form unto yourself not us: silent workhorses of the surfing world. There’s no sugary cliche. Most folk don’t know who we are, what we do or how we do it… let alone want to pay us for it.
I never want to take this for granted, so I try to keep motivations simple, real, positive. If I only scrape out a living, at least it’s a living worth scraping. If there’s no future in it, this is a present worth remembering. For fires of happiness or waves of gratitude… for everything that brought us to that point in life, to that moment in time to do something worth remembering with a photograph or a scar, I feel genuinely lucky too – hand on heart – to say I love what I do.
And I may never be a rich man but if I live long enough, I’ll certainly have a tale or two for the nephews. And I dig the thought of that.