New York in the 70s is a personal collection of photographs documenting an exciting chapter in New York's history; and a remarkable body of work produced by photographer Allan Tannenbaum. Many of the candid images depict not only the period of time but also the lives of the icons that defined 1970s New York. The photographs encompass many aspects of New York life while capturing the heady exuberance of the era-from SoHo and the art world to the city's politics and society. By photographing everything from street gangs to disco divas, from homeless to Hollywood stars, Tannenbaum had assembled a personal diary of his journey as a photojournalist and raconteur through a strange and exotic era of New York life.
Born in 1945, Tannenbaum moved to New York in the mid 1960s, Gravitating to the nascent art scene in the SoHo district of Manhattan. When the SoHo Weekly News began publication in 1973, he became the photo editor and chief photographer. Allan covered the art world, music scene, politics, show business, and nightlife until 1982 when the SoHo News folded. While working for the SoHo News, Allan also free-lanced for magazines such as Newsweek and New York. He also syndicated his SoHo News photos to newspapers, magazines, and photo agencies. After the SoHo News closed, he joined the renowned Sygma Photo News as a staff photographer, covering important national and international stories. He won a first prize in Spot New Stories at the World Press Photo competition in 1989 for his coverage of the Palestinian Intifada.
With his camera, Tannenbaum was an omnipresent eyewitness to the rise and fall of the various public figures and institutions of the time. His role gave him access to the parties, celebrities, and events that characterized the era. He photographed some of the most celebrated icons of the 70s, including his own personal idols Andy Warhol and John Lennon. While photographing Yoko Ono for the cover of the SoHo News, Tannenbaum developed a friendship with her, which led to an exclusive photo op with Lennon and Ono during the filming of their ‘Starting Over’ video. Tannenbaum’s photographs were taken just two weeks before Lennon’s assassination, and he was developing some of the prints to take to the couple that very evening when he got the terrible news. “The depth of my despair brought tears without end,” he recalls.