How He Uses His Camera To “Talk”
Of all the Monkees, Micky is probably the most sensitive and the most sympathetic. Love for everyone, a sense of the unity of life, the ability to see beauty in all things—these are basic factors in Micky’s personality. Of course, all the Monkees have these things, but in Micky’s case each one is more than in any of the others. Micky genuinely cares, about people, about beauty, about love.
All of Micky’s interests are somehow tied-up in these three things. His interest and love of animals, his many handcrafting hobbies, his scientific turn—all of these are part of love and beauty and nature. But most important, to him, is his hobby of photography, for this is the closest he is able to come to capturing the beautiful inner feelings he has and sharing them with other people. When a person is so sensitive and so loving, it is often hard to tell others about the thoughts that mean so much, because most people do not think that way. But everyone understands pictures, and the proper picture will make almost everyone see what the photographer was trying to say. This is why Micky’s photography is so rewarding for him.
Micky looks with eyes of sensitivity and love to the world around him and tries to capture these things on film. One day he may capture the beauty of a child’s smile, or the sadness of a dog when it is disappointed. He may try to capture the wonder of fuzz growing on a leaf in a flower pot, or he may purposely blur a picture to show a bird in flight—to attempt to show motion on a still picture.
You won’t find pictures of buildings in his collection, for buildings are man-made and don’t catch the feeling of love. You won’t find pictures of anything ugly, either. Even Micky’s sad pictures have traces of beauty, though the beauty may be in tears. He might photograph a dirty and hungry child to show that the dignity of the child is beautiful, though his life may not be. And Micky might try to use these pictures to get others to help those that are more unfortunate.
Color is very important to Micky—bright, vivid colors of electric blue and green, the colors of the oceans and skies he loves so much. He looks for the silvery reds and yellows he sees on swiftly moving fish, he tries to capture the brilliant purples and oranges he sees on tropical birds, and he tries to show the soft misty whites and greys of the clouds.
When Micky is photographing children he will try to catch the contrast in the colors they wear—for children are always colorful. The contrast between the starched white dress of a tiny girl and the chocolate smeared on her face. The beauty of a small boy dressed in-his own choice of play clothes—brown shoes, blue socks, red pants, a yellow T-shirt and a navy baseball cap, all held together with lots of dirt and popscicle drips.
Micky loves to take his camera to recording sessions and filming sessions at the studios. People are always twice as funny when recording or filming is going on—although sometimes only Micky can see the humor. A playback of a tape just recorded might be playing, a very funny segment of an album, and whoever is on the tape is probably listening to his performance with a screwed-up face and a look of pain in his eyes. Micky will probably take a picture of that painful look, so much in contrast to the sounds on the tape, and present it as a gift.
Many times in filming, people will have to get into almost impossible positions and situations in order to photograph correctly. Micky will probably be taking a snapshot from a crazy angle of the whole scene—then he’ll collect them and make a montage (a big picture made up of lots of little ones) for a gift.
Actors many times have to learn to do things they have never done before for a film. A scene may call for someone to be an expert horse man—and that person may have been deathly afraid of horses all his life! Well, the show must go on and, fright or no, he must learn to be an expert horseman (or at least expert enough so the audience doesn’t catch on). Well, the time when they are learning—through gritted teeth—to get over their fear Micky is taking many pictures. Then, after that person has learned what they had to, Micky will give them the collection with a note: “See, that wasn’t so bad—was it? When that person has to again learn something that he’s been afraid of, he will have Micky’s pictures to remind him that he can learn—another of Micky’s gifts of love.
Because Micky’s camera is so important to him (sometimes it’s the only way he can get other people to see what he sees), Micky is always concerned when other people want to learn to take pictures. He always tries to help, pointing out how certain beautiful things and colors may best be captured on film. Micky believes that love and compassion are far more important in taking pictures than any technical knowledge of film or cameras or other photographic equipment. If you have love and sensitivity, then the pictures will turn out beautifully—whatever you need to know will be learned very easily. But, if you don’t have the love and the compassion, then no amount of photo knowledge will ever allow you to take pictures of beauty for, according to Micky, photography begins in the heart—not the camera.