Portrait of a Surf Photographer's Life

Viewfinder: Dark Side of the Lens

Unless you surf, you rely on madmen like Mickey Smith for a firsthand look into the sport. The best surfers in the world flock to whichever beaches have the largest (but somehow rideable) waves, and behind, beside and in front of them are guys like Mickey, treading and holding giant waterproof cameras, focused on capturing “subtle glimpses of magic” in an environment that is anything but subtle.

Near drownings, frigid water, concussions and broken arms are perks in his profession. Complete attention on the subject, long stretches on the road and limited safety and spotlight are signed for on the dotted line. And the base pay? Even though his subjects are high profile, Mickey, in his own words, scrapes a living. In a world of 401k plans, college diplomas and entry level jobs requiring a minimum of two years of experience, Mickey left school at 16 years old and started exploring a passion that would become his career. For him there was no other option. Behind the camera is where Mickey truly lives. This award-winning video is the perfect portrait of his life and his incredible daily workplace.