Project Description

Born in Passaic, New Jersey, in 1945, Allan Tannenbaum has been photographing since the 1960s. He received a B.A. in Art from Rutgers University in 1967, where he photographed for The Targum – the campus newspaper – and made films for his art courses. He made films as a graduate student at San Francisco State College and as an independent filmmaker in New York. After a stint as a seaman in the U.S. Merchant Marine, he taught photography and filmmaking at the Livingston College branch of Rutgers University from 1970 until 1972. Gravitating to the nascent art scene in the SoHo district of Manhattan, Tannenbaum worked as a taxi driver and bartender while looking for work as a photographer. When theSoHo Weekly News commenced publication in 1973, Tannenbaum became the Photo Editor and Chief Photographer. The newspaper started out as an eight-page free paper, but soon became a popular newsstand seller that rivaled the established Village Voice. Tannenbaum relentlessly covered the art world, music scene, politics, show business, and nightlife. This lasted until 1982 when the SoHo News folded. The high point of this period was photographing John Lennon and Yoko Ono for the paper — the low point was the murder of John Lennon 10 days later.


In 2003, a German publisher, Feierabend Verlag, published New York in the 70s, Tannenbaums first book based on his photographs from the SoHo News era. The book received critical acclaim and the first printing sold out. Today it is a prized collectorÕs item, and a new edition published by Overlook Press was published in April, 2009. A second book of New York City photos, from the Ô80s, Ô90s, and right up to July 4th, 2004, titled New York, was published in 2005. Over 50 photographs from New York in the 70s were exhibited in 1997 at Visa pour lÕImage, the international photojournalism festival in Perpignan, France and were the hit of the show. Tannenbaum has had major exhibitions of his work not only in New York City but also all over the world, including Towers at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, John Lennon: Unfinished Music at CitŽ de la Musique in Paris, John and Yoko: A New York Love Story at the Govinda Gallery in Washington, D.C., and New York in the 70s at the Draywalk Gallery in London. A projection of his images opened the Fotografia Europea festival in Italy in 2009. His third book, John & Yoko: A New York Love Story, based on his intimate photographs of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, was just published in October 2007 by Insight Editions. American Photo Magazine named it one of the ten best photography books of 2007. It was a Gold Medal winner in the 2008 Independent Book Publisher Awards. Besides the trade edition, there is also a limited edition of 1250 copies. “Bright Lights, Big City” featured Tannenbaum’s New York in the 70s work in Los Angeles, as did the Not Fade Away Gallery in New York in 2009. In 2011 Tannenbaum’s 9/11 work was in a group show at Polka Gallery in Paris and at the Centrale Montemartine in Rome. His photos of the New York music scene were featured in the Punk Rock exhibition at Renoma in Paris.

Tannenbaum lives with his wife Debora in Manhattan.

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