Commie Crimbo


As 2017 draws to a close, it would be remiss of me not to mention this year also being the 100th anniversary since Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov – better known to one and all as ‘Lenin’ – staged his Bolshevik Revolution. American radical journalist and socialist John Reed (who was portrayed by Warren Beatty in his wonderfully-epic 1981 movie, Reds) witnessed at firsthand the chaos of Lenin’s 1917 revolution and chronicled the story in his seminal book, Ten Days That Shook the World.


Large and imposing street statues of Lenin once used to dominate the former Soviet Union and the states of the former Warsaw Pact countries – but after the break-up of the Soviet Union on December 26, 1991, just about all of those Lenin statues were removed or pulled down. But one in Poprad, in then Czechoslovakia, was saved from being melted down, and curiously ended up becoming the only US public statue of the Bolshevik totalitarian dictator.


You can find this larger-than-life (all 16-feet and 7-tons of it), controversial bronze rendering of Lenin, as he glares down at you from his corner perch in the funky, free-thinking beatnik Republic of Fremont in Seattle – and the full story of how it ended up there, can be read by clicking here. And with Fremont being Fremont, each Christmas old Lennie gets into the community spirit of things by being bedecked by the locals in Crimbo lights and seasonal trimmings.


There are many reasons why this was one of my favourite Seattle landmarks to photograph, such as this one from the archives, shot on this day back in 2011. It’s just so out of place to find a Lenin statue located in the US, yet, paradoxically, so completely in place with it being there in Fremont, the city’s quirkiest neighbourhood. And earlier this year, as the US hotly-debated within itself about just which controversial statues should and shouldn’t be removed from public display, it became the subject of the ‘saddest right-wing protest ever‘, as seven protesters ‘marched’ on Fremont to demand its removal.


Leica M7 & 2/35mm Summicron ASPH

Long exposure: f5.6/12 seconds

Fuji Velvia 50

Developed & Scanned by Panda Lab