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. 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 the SoHo Weekly News commenced publication in 1973, Tannenbaum became the Photo Editor and Chief Photographer. 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.
While working for the SoHo News, Tannenbaum also freelanced for magazines such as Newsweek and New York Magazine. He also syndicated his SoHo News photos to newspapers, magazines, and photo agencies. Upon the demise of the SoHo News, Tannenbaum joined the renowned Sygma Photo News as a Staff Photographer. He began covering national and international stories of historical importance. He has covered numerous political campaigns and nominating conventions and has covered news stories in the U.S. such as the Oklahoma City bombing and the Columbine massacre.
His work has appeared in many photo books and exhibitions, as well as appearing regularly in NEWSWEEK, TIME, LIFE, ROLLING STONE, PARIS MATCH, and STERN. His photographs have graced the covers of TIME three times, and NEWSWEEK five times. In 2003, the German Publisher Feierabend Verlag published NEW YORK IN THE 70s, Tannenbaum’s first book of his photographs from the SoHo News era. The book receivd critical acclaim and the first printing quickly sold out. Overlook Press published a second edition in April 2009. A second book of photographs made in New York City from the 1980s through 2004, titled New York, was published in 2005. His third book JOHN & YOKO A NEW YORK LOVE STORY, based on his intimate photographs of John Lennon and Yoko Ono was published in October 2007 by Insight Editions. AMERICAN PHOTO magazine named it one of the ten best photograph books of 2007. Tannenbaum now works primarily with Polaris Images and the Tribeca Trib. He lives in New York City with his wife.
Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe by Allan Tannenbaum