How to use Silly to Cope with a Natural Disaster


Today I flew in to Jedda Bradley’s facebook space for a chat.

It was bucket loads of fun – the full interview mentions reality tv, chocolate, guinea pigs, chainsaws, and Hamish and Andy.  

To read why visit  Jedda Bradley’s Artist Page.  Here is a short extract.

Chatting with Jedda

Ten BIG, medium and tiny Questions for June….who lived through the terrifying nail-biting cyclone Yasi that hit the Cassowary Coast of North Queensland and then she had to clean the s*** up. Really not fair! I mean, it’s bad enough going to a scary movie and having to remember to take my popcorn box and my coke container to the bin but this kind of clean up you can’t even get the hoover out and just let it suck everything up.

So June….

1) What implement is most effective in cleaning up after a cyclone?

If you have one, or can borrow one, a chainsaw!

2) What clothes are best for cleaning up after a cyclone? And if you had to create a brand of unique clothes just for cleaning up after a cyclone what would you call it?

Anything you’d paint your house in and don’t care about, because it can get messy and sweaty. Hat and protective gloves, and reasonable boots would be helpful.

I have no idea what I’d call a clothing brand that was made for cyclone clean ups. I do know I would like such a brand to be non-profit, designed by comedians, and given out by Council, Red Cross and charities.

It would be great to have a funny, inspirational and educational clean up tshirt with reminders on the back like ‘take care with power lines, drink plenty of fluid, don’t do too much, help a friend, be kind to the SES, etc’ and a space for people to write on the tshirt their own personal saying or slogan with a fabric pen.

I wonder what Hamish and Andy would call a clothing brand.

3) Who was with you during the cyclone? Did you get ring crunch because you had forgotten to take off your wedding ring and were holding David’s hand too tightly?

My hubby, our three kids, four pet guinea pigs, our lovable but crazy bird Peep (who took off to bring other birds to our house for shelter), and two pet quails.

For the entire interview visit  the delightful Jedda Bradley’s Artist Page

If you want to be eligible for a free ebook or free photo print visit Jedda’s facebook space and leave a comment just like Melissa has.


We are at the half way point of the blog tour. I look forward to the next stop at Carol Campbell’s poetry blog.

Better get busy making sure the final launch activities are ready.  Thanks so much to everyone supporting the tour.

Make Me Look Beautiful: Challenges of Documentary Photography

Tully Locals
Oh to meet the Prince – By June Perkins – These two ladies loved their portrait!  Hooray it’s great when you have happy documentary subjects.  This was taken at the visit of Prince William to Tully and I asked them to pose.

Why would some people rather eat brussel sprouts with mustard and peanut butter than have a photograph taken?

Why do some people hug the camera as it if was their dearest long lost primary school friend that they haven’t seen in thirty years?

Is it simply that some people think they break the camera glass and have bud luck for the next three generations?  Many of us have a deep seated belief that some people are born for the camera – they are the blessed photogenic and never look bad in a photo.  (Tabloid professionals are always out to turn that one upside down.)

Or is it just that some of us don’t want the world to see what we looked like after our slim years?

Maybe it’s just that we don’t trust that camera person not to take an unflattering pose of us eating and then possibly throwing up after the peanut butter brussel sprouts with mustard.

Some people just don’t like the look of their face, their hair or just have to have makeup on; they want to control the way they come out on camera or the way they look now.  The struggle with the body image, and having time to care for the body  and feel confronted by the camera and resulting picture, not to mention that annoying camera person documenting an event and making them do this. (This by the way is not what the camera person is thinking.)

Have you ever taken what you thought was a beautiful picture of a person and had them say  ”Yuk I look fat in that or “I don’t like my face” or can, “you chuck that out please.”

Now have you ever also had a person on the other end of the scale say “Wow you made me look great”, “I look so strong,”  “I didn’t realise I could look just like Elle McPherson” or “Miranda Kerr.”

Thinking about this more deeply opens the Pandora’s box of what is beauty, but also what is the purpose of photography.  There are many purposes, capturing memory, documenting, finding beauty just to mention a few.

For me we don’t always photograph to make others look beautiful, but most photographers, including documentary ones, don’t set out to make people feel ugly.

Responses to an image are not always about the skill of the camera person,  but sometimes about how the person is feeling about themselves at that stage in their life. And people photography is not easy as you are dealing with psychology.

All this can make it tricky for the documentary oriented photographer.  Our goal to capture the beautiful moments in an event, the connection between people, the ecstasy and triumphs, and yes also struggles and sorrow and some kind of truth.  Is truth always beautiful?It can be.

We have to respect our subjects – and yet is respect always sticking with posed photographs – not all posed photographs are the most memorable ones.  It is the spontaneous moments that sparkle and shimmer and are strong in our memories.  Like images of a boy kissing a girl in a riot in Canada.

The portrait photographer captures inner beauty when they work hard.  They relax a person, collaborate, work with them and bring out what is needed to shine on camera.  For some people their relationship with the camera – for instance Miranda Kerr – is a dance – a connection of tango – and they just fit together.

For others any sign of a camera and they freeze, stop smiling, hide, move away, and do an anti paparazzi pose, and yet in relaxed moments their inner being comes out.  They are themselves, regardless of what they think about their weight, looks, anyone in my view can come across as beautiful on camera.

Anyway let me say the next time you start running from the camera at a family event from some photo crazy family member or friend, remember they are taking a photograph of you because you are special to them, cherished and they want to remember you in the moment.

Maybe the photograph won’t represent the seventeen year old slim you, but maybe you can take that inner angst and relax – it makes for a lovely photograph.

And as for you mad crazy family, community documenters, maybe you can learn from the professionals and coax the beauty and the joy out of others, and realise that part of your role is to educate people that even though we love Miranda and Elle there are all kinds of beauty waiting to be captured by the camera.  Also sometimes you just need to put the camera down and write the memory.

(c) June Perkins

Imagining the Cast of Seinfield in Murray Upper

Crocodile Sign – June Perkins

What can you do when it’s so wet and humid that every piece of material in your house smells like ten pairs of dried up socks rolled in blue vein cheese and hung like streamers at a birthday party for the grouch on Sesame Street?

What do you do, when you feel like you’ve been marooned in an episode of Gilligan’s Island that has been mixed with the movie Ground Hog Day only to find out that your attempts to learn in every repetitive moment is not leading to a resolution of your whole life?

It’s time to become as creative as the writers of Seinfield and imagine Jerry, Kramer,
Elaine and George wandering around the Streets of Murray Upper wondering where to find the best by the side of the road fruit stall so they can head back home and brag about it for months on end to their newest soon to be rejected love interests.

Only Kramer better not have his foot in the mouth disease with insanely inappropriate comments when he meets the local Indigenous community.  What is it with washed up actors and comedians who shoot off at the mouth and reveal when they are drunk that they need to get a social, historical, political education to take them out of the 1930s?

The big wet times of the year in North Queensland are as inevitable as the ending of  your favourite show with too many plot intrigues and stars asking for big hikes in salary with an overinflated sense of their own worth to the television executives.

Rain is inevitable whenever you are outside without a raincoat or umbrella, and the further you are away from the car, the more torrential and wild it is going to be.  Have you ever been so wet that your bones need wringing out and you’re sure that you can hear the water wriggling around in there like a case of rather nasty worms, whilst you sleep?

Our house – in the super duper like a with the lot burger that makes any reasonable human being sick,  wet – is like Noah’s ark – only the two by twos are every variety of insect, frog, toad and rodent fleeing the floods, not to mention a possible crocodile husband and wife that might just like to come and try our guinea pigs for tea.

Boogy boards are essential to wet days as they represent one of the ways kids can have fun as long as they manage to stay away from storm drains and of course the wandering crocodiles that have escaped from one of those b grade movie sets.

And it’s a foregone conclusion that you will be the one person to live right next to the oval where the crocodiles boogy board the floods of the never ending wet and end up eating your chickens.

Written after reading

This months blog challenge – to be funnier!

(c) June Perkins