Left for another

mbfitzmahan. Left for another Woman.  Tallinn, Estonia. 2008

This photo was taken inside a large abandoned movie theater in Old Town, Tallinn, Estonia.

After the Soviet Union collapsed, the movie theaters closed down. The Communist Party used movies as an effective tool to educate, entertain, and to inculcate Party values in its youth. Soviet movies were the best entertainment in town.

The communist occupiers were thrown out of Estonia in 1991. Democracy and capitalism were adopted, and the aging old movie houses were replaced by ungainly concrete movie complexes. Going to the movies in Tallinn today is like stepping into an AMC movie complex in Walnut Creek, California. Popcorn, Coke, M & Ms, jelly beans, and Brad Pitt.

In 2008, when I was teaching photography in Tallinn, Saskia, one of my students, cajoled her father to allow me to take photos of the abandoned movie theater he owned in Old Town. Saskia’s father was one of the deeply wealthy nouveau riche in Tallinn.

How Saskia’s father, a Russian-Estonian, moved up from being a common worker of the communist Soviet Union, to a multimillionaire is part of a murky tale of acquisition of wealth in the early years of independence.

The Russians of Estonia, unlike Putin’s oligarch friends, did not walk away with political power in Estonia, the smallest of the Soviet republics. But, great wealth during privatization of property was grabbed by a few.

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3 thoughts on “Left for another

  1. Technically, I appreciate how both the interior and the gauzy exterior are visible at the same time.

    And in a way, it’s almost as if the theatre, once a way for Estonians to escape to another world, is now at the proscenium, gazing back through a portal, a threshold reversed. In the proscenium, the mundanity of apartments as life in post Soviet Estonia goes on.

  2. So interesting! How I appreciate you sharing what you see in my photography. Thank you. I will go back and study this photo some more, too. I also think there are important lying metaphors within this photo.

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