Allan Tannenbaum was born in Passaic, New Jersey in 1945. His interest in photography took root while he took a year off from Rutgers University to live in San Francisco in the mid-1960s, and he launched his career shooting the hippie scene and musicians like Jimi Hendrix. After a stint in the Merchant Marine, he moved to New York where he worked as a taxi driver and bartender while pursuing a photography position.
Landing a job with the SoHo Weekly News, then an eight-page giveaway newspaper, Allan served as the Chief Photographer and Photo Editor from its founding in 1973 until the publication closed in 1982. He documented New York art, politics, show biz, music, and nightlife, and is best known for his definitive coverage of the burgeoning New York City punk and new wave rock scene of the 1970s.
Since the mid-1980s, Allan has worked as a photojournalist covering news and features across the world, notably traveling to Kuwait and Iraq to document Operation Desert Storm. He has exhibited his fine-art photography worldwide and has published several books of his work including New York in the 70s (2003), John and Yoko: A New York Love Story (2007), and Grit and Glamour – The Street Style, High Fashion, and Legendary Music of the 1970s (2016). He continues to live and work in Manhattan.