Monday, November 04, 2013

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Portraits of a Musician


Lately I've been taking photographs of Musicians.  You can view this portfolio here.

Portraits of a Musician

A big thankyou to local musician Melinda for being my model for this work.  Melinda may give me some quotes from her beautiful songs to put with this later, but for now some general quotes from music give the idea of what kinds of things I'd like to produce for song writers and musicians looking for a photographer.

I posted a story on the day I took photographs as my Pearlz Dreaming Blog

A Day with a Song Writer


After Yasi - Reviews

A stunningly illustrated book compiled by June Perkins and others, AFTER YASI tells the stories of recovery, healing and Community; also a beautiful insight into rural life in Northern Queensland for those who have yet to visit our region.- Joanna, review reader, Townsville.

After Yasi is simply stunning.  Beautifully laid out, images are emotional and strong and the stories behind them oh so touching. -Suzie, ABC Open Producer

I just looked through your e-book and it is fantastic - very beautiful indeed and touching. I love the 'chainsaw optimism' pic especially. Just shows how words and pictures together can be so powerful. I think you have produced something so excellent.  This will be great as a hard-copy coffee table style book. -Nigel, Review Reader, resident in Africa

I have just had a very quick look but what an amazing book. You should be very proud.  I would love to have a copy here for our resources.  -A Queensland Arts Organisation

I took the time to read your book. I'm so impressed by the photographs you took.  Most have smiling faces amidst the ruins of the cyclone. It's so sad to think that a tragedy reminds us what is important.  Family, community, music, smiles, and pictures.  Many people who lose their homes lose their family photos, and that too is a tragedy.  Thank you for sharing. The words and poems were so touching and as I said the pictures were awesome, from the beautiful flowers, to the devastation and destruction of homes and nature. It's a beautiful book, well done. You captured the moments. Helene, Story Cartel Critique group

The Yasi photo book; the stories and visual recollections leave me wordless but with memories of my childhood flicking through my mind like old 8mm film of surviving Cyclone Althea after Tracey up there... Most extremely well done. -Dimity, children’s book author.
I had a quick look at your After Yasi Blurb book and I'm very impressed with the amount of creative projects you've produced in the last couple of years. The book looks stunning. I'm impressed that you are able to capture fantastic photographs of everything you get involved in. I know how hard this is.  Well done in putting all your experiences and hard work in this beautiful book. -Leandro, ABC Open Mentor

1000 thanks for sharing this epic recount with magical photography and illustrations.  Cannot wait to see the finished product.- Ann, Lower Tully community

This is a fantastic book. Not only do I love the piece about Back on Track but I love the pictures the comments and the smiles from everyone else.   Well done and I look forward to buying the finished product. -Brendan, Australian Rotary Health

Oh my, what a gorgeous piece of work. You are a true artist in so many ways, Can't wait for the finished product - Danielle, former Lower Tully resident

Looking forward to reader responses - feel free to add these to the blog.  Thankyou.


Friday, July 12, 2013

After Yasi - Book

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It's getting closer!  The release of The Smile Within Book - titled, After Yasi, Finding the Smile Within. So excited to share the above sneak  peek of the book.

I am currently proofing  it and obtaining national library catalogue information for it.  It will soon be available as a hard- cover book to treasure, or an accessible ebook to be touched by the stories if you are on a budget.

I am wondering what to classify it as at present, is it self help or community help, Australian History, non-fiction.

The National Library will answer that one for me soon. This book has been a labour of love and recovery to thank and acknowledge the many people who have assisted the community and my family to regain our smile within. More details can be found here soon.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

500 Words Contributions - June Perkins

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Listening Divas

Published on ABC Open, November 22nd, 2012  Listening Divas

When we were young, Dad told us bed time stories. They were always silly with us in starring roles.

Dad liked Spike Milligan and AA Milne. Sometimes he’d recite his favourite poems and direct them to one of us. Snatches of AA Milne come back to me at the oddest times, with his poetry of children whose parents run away and cautionary tales to not step on the cracks in the footpath.

Dad’s stories were funny and satirical but sometimes we protested about the way he portrayed us. We were unruly characters, tiny divas, jostling for bigger and more complimentary roles. We directed our storytelling Dad just so. 

Our favourite thing was Dad giving us magical powers. We told him the names we wanted and what we should be doing. 
‘No I wouldn’t do that.’
‘I should be taller’
‘I need to run faster’
‘I’d jump to … the moon'

We loved to take over his stories. Sometimes our diva listening ways were so out of control they would make our storyteller abandon his tale and he’d grab out the Muddle Headed Wombat book to read to us and do all the characters voices for us. Tabby Cat, Mouse and Wombat became our friends. I read all the books when I had mastered the art of reading.

These stories were important because when we were very small our Dad was often away for long periods working as a labourer. Partly because of not having qualifications from his years in Papua New Guinea and partly due to prejudice over our Mum’s race he found it difficult to get and keep other work.

Our Mum told us when Dad came home after long labouring jobs my little brothers had forgotten who he was, and would hide behind her crying as the strange man with the overgrown beard came to hug us.

When Dad was finally home again for most of the time, we were able to know him again through the storytelling ritual.

Just as we were getting used to on tap Dad, he was away again to study and become a teacher and then later a librarian. Luckily I could read some of the books he had read to us so I didn’t miss him too much. Dad lived in another town with a landlady and sometimes we would visit him. 

Dad hitch-hiked home to see us when he had a chance. This time when he came home we would come running out to meet him and my younger brothers would pipe up with ‘a story, a story.’ I listened for old time’s sake. 

I was less of a listening diva because by this stage I was writing my own stories – partly thanks to my Dad’s early storytelling efforts to reconnect with his children.

(c) June Perkins

From Wheelchair to Walking: The Story of Paul

This Story was first published at ABC Open 7th January 2013 - From Wheelchair to Walking: The Story of Paul

At first the medical fraternity thought my brother, Paul’s, accident meant he was going to be a vegetable and if he was lucky to leave his bed would be stuck in a wheelchair for life, but my Mum had other plans.  
She played his favourite music, Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller,’ to him when he was in coma and spoke to him continuously. 
She brought him home and embarked on all sorts of therapies, including Reflexology  - a foot massage based therapy. After many months, against the odds, he was mobile in a wheel chair, and then after many more months he was able to walk, but with a slight loping rhythm.
Does he remember what he was once like? I think the question is avoided so he doesn’t grieve for it.
Before his accident Paul Junior (named after my Dad and often called Peejay) was doing brilliantly at school, a good soccer player, a tap dancer, and planned to win a scholarship to go to a private school.  He was a young man with the only obstacle being when rather than if.
He was by far my favourite brother (sorry other brothers), because he was gentle, chatty and enjoyed being the perfect little brother. But as I think back he was accident prone even from a young age and had a few scrapes before ending up in hospital big time. 
Everything changed when my brother chose not to wear a helmet and cycle out of a steep driveway to come home.  
He was knocked off his bike by a car and hit the pavement at full pelt head first. Sounds like one of those terrible cautionary ads you see in television now, but this was a long time before helmets were heavily promoted. Every second kid chose not to wear them. 
I have vivid memories of my other two younger brothers wheeling Paul around in his wheel chair at full pelt for fun in the city mall, much to the dismay of my mother. I thought at the time it was cool that they were treating him like they always did, head injury or not. He must've missed going off to play cricket with them. 
It was not easy to ask Paul how he felt about things as it took a while for his speech to return, besides everyone was focusing on physical recovery as he was paralysed down one side. We were all employed by Mum to support his therapy, but she did most of it and he did the hardest yakka of all.
When Paul did recover his speech his sentences were formed so slowly it seemed like if you just taped them, then sped them up it would be easier to understand what he was on about. 
‘Do you speak PeeJay?’ My irreverent boyfriend, now husband, asked when he first met him. He jokes with everyone and wasn’t going to let an obviously brain injured individual cramp his normal personality. Paul laughed. He has loved David ever since.
Paul has come a long way in his recovery, but like it or not, we' ve all had to accept he will never have the same fluent personality or movement.
The thing I love most about Paul is the way he laughs at life. His mind is quicker than people think, so he recognises when someone is patronising him; his slow motion mimicry of them annoying him is hilarious.
I think he has more he could say but it can take so long for us to understand so he just gives up and chuckles. We try to overcome our limitations to reach out to him the best we can.
My Mum said when she read the first draft of this:
I remind him everyday how far he has come. And prepare him for a future I won't be there, so he can be as independent as possible.
She has done so much for my brother to assist him to overcome the challenges life has presented. She always seems to wish she could do more.
Paul makes a lot of people happy through the joyful way he lives his life, and is part of a large caring and extended family.
He and my mum are more inspirational than they will ever really know.  Mum said these days Paul listens to a lot of music and loves making costumes and threading beads for the culture performance group she facilitates. 
The last word of this family journey belongs to Paul:
I am happy with my life. I'd like to move forwards and get better and better. Ever forwards, forwards. 
I like playing drums and dancing in the dance group practices with my Mum's culture group.

Further links of interest are: 

(c) June Perkins 

Cut Off - No Way Out

Cut Off - No Way Out - This article and image appeared on ABC Open 23rd January 2013

Flooded in - four directions. No way out! Unless you have a canoe, paddle and waiting relatives lined up.
As seasoned North Queenslanders we've been watching the weather forecasts very carefully. We take flooding at this time of year for granted.
This morning we drove our which-roads-are-blocked-pilgrimage and were lucky to meet up with some locals. Lucky, because most of our neighbours are now being cut off and soon we'll only be touch via phone and facebook.
The locals we met were waiting with their vehicles, blocked at a river crossing on the road to Jumbun. We watched a canoe on the other side of the road paddle towards us - it was one of those classic moments you just have to photograph.
We had a yarn about the bridges being planned for Cassowary Coast and agreed this regularly flooded spot in Murray Upper would surely be a contender.
At this time of year rainfall is on our minds, and our facebook status statements are full of comments from locals keeping a watchful eye on how heavy the rain will be, and sharing up-to-date information and links.
We have reason to be concerned because even though a cyclone is not heading directly for us we know the outcome is torrential rain everywhere. We know rain is on the way and we like to know how much, when and where.
We know by tracking it on our favourite sites; ABC Local Radio,Oz Cyclone Chasers, NQ Flooding update and of course BOM (Bureau of Meteorology).
Before it begins to flood we do the following:
Stock up on food and supplies (that was a couple of days ago and any local down at the supermarket lines knew it, non locals were bemused, obviously not realising what was on the way)
Realise the best laid plans are about to go up the river
Make sure our cameras are poised to share our version of the flood with our friends similarly marooned on line
Dissect the weather with our mates
Keep checking the weather sites
A major aftermath of flooding can be the shortages of essential items in the supermarket and until the trucks can make it through; it can take a couple of weeks before the shelves are restocked.
The rain is hammering down and I wonder: what are my friends and neighbours up to right now?
I've heard through the facebook vine: they have been beanbag floating in their flooded duck ponds, getting their boats ready (but to go where?) and taking and then uploading their images and thoughts on the flood.
Once you are in the midst of flooding the general idea is to have fun, keep safe, and via the internet work out and observe when those water levels will go down to safely let you out!
Today we've been amazed. This is the biggest flooding at Murray Upper since we've lived here. The creeks and river are overflowing everywhere in a way we've not witnessed before. The Murray Falls would be brilliant if you could safely make it there.
A few of the children, including my own, are really disappointed that a planned cartooning workshop at the library has had to be cancelled, because the weather has made sure no one can make it.
Perhaps it's time to cartoon rain, boats, happy people arriving home and a runaway parking sign like the one I saw going up river just a couple of hours ago.

(c) June Perkins

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Fans are a Giddy Thing - Mumford and Sons

Railroad Revival Tour, Tempe Arizona

From Wha'ppen - Flickr Creative Commons

Finally wrote my family’s concert experience up – we love Mumford and Sons!
Mumford and Sons, Kuranda Ampitheatre, October 28th, 2012
My family wait with the early birds.
We’re in the verdant rainforest at the gates of the Kuranda amphitheatre.
We can’t believe Mumford and Sons will be here soon.
The queue looks small. We thought more people would’ve arrived early. We’re shocked, but it won’t be long until it’s a long winding snake out onto the highway.
We’re making small talk and finding out that a woman camped in queues for Robbie William concerts. She tells us, ‘it was worth it, to be up the front.’
A mother in the early birders met one of the band and his girlfriend in the supermarket. She’s keen to meet them back stage if she can but knows it’s not possible. She tells us they’re off seeing the reef today. She is proud to be in on band’s holiday story.
She’s upset when told she can’t take any open bottles, including those of water in. ‘What, not even water?’ She’s itching for an uprising. ‘We want water, we want water. ’ No-one else is willing to risk early ejection from the concert.
Come to think of it water for a waiting line, when water is not allowed to be carted in might have been a good idea. Then it’s back to excitement for the concert and she’s calming down.
We wait for the gates to open. We are perched on cushions I’ve bought for us to sit on at the front (at the suggestion of the ticket people). People think they see them arriving. Excitement ripples in the ground. People crane to see, no it’s not them.
Gates open and quickly we are down the front with the early birds, and it’ not looking that crowded yet. We head for the fence line. Two of us fit there, and three behind.
The ampitheatre fills slowly as the support acts, Willy Mason and Sarah Blasko, placate the crowd.
Willy reminds me of Johnny Cash. His song writing in intricate and well received. What a great opener. I’ll join his facebook page for sure.
Blasko is in a world of her own. Almost not aware we are there? She has her own cheer squad in the crowd. She’s ethereal, melding into the rainforest, floating like a butterfly.
But most of the crowd want Mumford and Sons. When Blasko leaves the stage you can sense the anticipation is at breaking point. We are a bubble that has floated, waiting to explode.
As if in a twinkling of an eye we are surrounded by a huge surge in the sea of people. We are not going to be able to move from the front again, with any chance of returning to our prime spot again.
Our cushions are under our feet, and later the crowd’s feet, as people squeeze in tighter and tighter.
The band is on stage and the bubble bursts, only for another one to blown as each song is played!
Rhythmic crowd jumps up and down in the beat of The Lion Man.
Arm to arm, shoulder to shoulder, we can barely move. Finger tips and arms sway slightly, an ocean of phones and cameras click and record. Our phone too, but then its batteries and memories run low, and so we must rely on memory and the youtube uploads after the event of the sea of phones around us.
Everyone seems to know every word of every song, even better than Mumford himself, who momentarily forgets the lyrics to one and says the F word quite naturally.
I’m enjoying the magic of the concert, but the crowd is too close for comfort. The security guards are being very sweet and safety conscious, and keep checking on my kids in front of me to make sure they are not being crushed.
A drunken man who is annoying everyone but himself is ejected from the front and taken to the back of the concert. Someone recording the band has their elbow stuck in the groove of my back. I hope this isn’t going to continue for a whole hour and the music will be enough for me to put up with the irritation. It’s almost unbearable. Then I turn around and thankfully whoever it was seems to move in the surging wave around me and my back is free.
My feet are aching. The dust on the ground below me is covering my ankles. I keep an eye on the surge around my children to make sure they’re safe. Even standing on the cushions we bought in gives no comfort. They are slippery and threaten to have me slip under the wave of the crowd.
A short African lady wants to see and the crowd is so tall, some of us part to make a space for her to be where she can see more. She is appreciative and thankful for the kindness and then proceeds to also keep watch on my children, like the security guards at the front.
Groupies are yelling out their wish to have children of members of the band, but many of us are here for the love of the music and find their over clingy calls a bit cloying, but hey we’re all fans, live and let live.
Mumford and Sons are not background lounge music. They demand to be heard, with their banjos and guitar, drums and sometimes additional trumpets, as well as Marcus’s spectacular resonant and impassioned vocals.
I observe the camera man at the front. With two cameras all set up and ready to go, one slung over his shoulder. He has a front seat ride that only official photographers can have. He is not there the whole concert, but he captures much of what will be up on line later. His performance entrances me, an ever learning photographer, as much as the band of the concert.
Then I am re-enchanted and reengaged by the songs. I don’t know them all, as my children and hubby and this crowd are the bigger fans, but each of them rings through me.
‘man is a giddy thing’
We are the people of the rainforest, united in fandom and in song.
I will say I was here, in the rainforest, with my kids, hubby, the early birds, a few thousand people, all swaying in time toMumford and Sons.
As we are leaving we see many people from our hometown pouring out to their cars.
People are waving, hugging, and saying in ecstatic wonderment, still on a concert high, ‘You were here too!’
(c) Article, June Perkins - and below is my storify collection.