Empire of Whimsy

img183I photographed Georgia Zapparoli, poet, a couple of weeks before Christmas, the shoot went well, but when I got home I hated all the digital shots I’d taken and actually permanently deleted the lot, which is pretty rare for me! On that day I also shot one roll of black and white film using a 1950’s Rolleicord TLR camera (the two black and white images shown here). It’s taken me over 6 weeks to see the results on film, but I love them, and I think Georgia looks amazing, very confident and sensuous. Georgia admitted that she’s always felt more comfortable without clothes on, so naked seemed the appropriate way to go!  The cling film shot has, as usual, no hidden meanings or connotations, I just thought it might look good. Some people over on my Facebook page have described it as ‘pretentious’ and a deliberate attempt at ‘shock value’, which I think says more about their own ignorance and stupidity than it does about the content of my photographs.

The three colour images were made this week, the top one using Impossible Project Color 600 film (this latest batch is, as usual, completely different to the last and has a magenta tinge to it). The last image was made using an Olympus OM1 and 50mm lens with Agfa Vista 200 film.

Georgia wrote a poem after the first shoot, in her words,  “That’s a poem called “31”. I wrote it after the first shoot, high on general happiness and silliness…”


My body is my body. I’m not bothered what you think of it.
It’s carried me through all these years no matter what I’ve thrown at it.
The marks on my flesh; the scars on my organs
They’re trophies from my battles with the metaphoric gorgons.

I’m feeling freed from the cycles of love and hate and love and hate
Now I’ve relinquished thinking on self-comparative debate.
Some people get my name wrong and they pronounce Georgina
But I’m not diminutive in stature or demeanor.
Dubbed as weird, mad, aggressive and crazy
Because the clarity I see, to them, is hazy.
Censored by illiterati, told I’m inappropriate.
Asked if I was born with bollocks, labeled frigid, called a slut.

I’m conscious of all my decisions, chosen to remember them
At times when I am finding out if they were right or they were wrong.
I don’t claim omniscience. I hold intelligence in awe
I’d rather know I’m ignorant and perfectly flawed
For the journey’s earning’s learning in its absolute form
And it gives your seasons reasons for your earthly sojourn.
They say “Don’t get her started” and “Not again, here we go”
When engaging in discussion and opinion of their point is low.
This is my elixir, though. This heady mix of raw debate.
With sowing of seeds and the joy to watch them germinate.

Frustrated by the limitations I cannot see
That seem to bind most others to a life semi-free
With their worries of decorum or etiquette or saving face.
I’d like to rip their blinkers off, put Technicolor in their place.
You’ll never know what you could be if you never try
And then you’ll blink and you’ll be at the end of your life.
I’ve seen too many dreamers go to holes in the ground
And damsels in distress choosing to wait to be found
By princes preoccupied with kissing the seeming dead.
I can’t understand why they don’t rescue themselves instead.

I love Lara, Xena, Tank Girl and Janeway
For standing up and counting, for doing things their own way.
Ignoring real heroines, a culture habitual.
The women on that list were completely fictional.

I’m not sold on the Lady myth. Keep your expectations.
Sell them to someone who’ll accept that degradation.
Do you want your daughters to grow up with choice?
Then encourage them to speak in an authorative voice.
Teach everyone to accept that “no means no”
But it also means “stop asking” and “leave me alone!”
If someone cannot answer it’s still not consent
And you don’t get to decide what unconscious people meant.
Those lines that you claim are blurred beyond compare
Are clear as Autumn air, no matter what clothes you wear.

Attraction’s not a circumstance of pink and blue
So stop trying to squeeze a right foot in a left hand shoe.
I stole that line from Carroll, from the Man Upon A Gate
But unlike him I know that there is too much to relate.
For the journey’s earning’s learning in its absolute form
And it gives your seasons reasons for your Earthly sojourn.
There is too much to discover for to ever be bored
And you’ll find its only you who is even keeping score.
So accept your physicality and mistakes of the past
For your time here is limited and goes pretty fast.
Do you honestly want your last thought to be

“I didn’t spend enough time just being me”?img112 DSC_2965-Edit‘Georgia Zapparoli is a spoken word artist and the Manx Litfest Poetry Slam champion of both 2013 and 2014. She performs poetry on a wide range of subjects, offering political opinions and tall tales with equal aplomb. As a child, she was published in several anthologies and won the annual Ottakar’s National Poetry competition at the age of 14. She holds an MA in Literary Studies from the University of Glasgow and is a qualified pharmaceutical dispenser. She is a great lover of micro nations and started her own in 2007, called the Empire of Whimsy. Nowadays, Whimsy exists online. Georgia’s poetry lives there’

More of Georgia’s work can be seen here – www.empireofwhimsy.blogspot.com and watch her here – TEDx

This image, below, I just found in my camera bag, it was made using Fuji Instax instant film.



  1. steve wise

    I like all the shots except the clingfilm one. In every other shot she looks so composed and confident. Her sexuality is just so much part of her that it isn’t in the least bit shocking. It’s just part of who she is. Wrapping her in clingfilm – I just don’t see what this is trying to say. If it doesn’t have ‘a point’ then it has to work as an image – but it’s just a natural female body wrapped in clingfim. So it doesn;t speak to me intellectually – and it doesn’t speak to me aesthetically.


  2. Val

    Georgia, how did you find the experience? I was lucky enough to be photographed by Phil a few weeks ago, I loved it! Phil made me feel completely at ease.


  3. Pingback: 31 – Empire of Whimsy

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