Born in Passaic, New Jersey, in 1945, Allan Tannenbaum has been photographing since the 1960s. After receiving a BA in Art from Rutgers University in 1967, he made films as a graduate student at San Francisco State College and as an independent filmmaker in New York. He then taught photography and filmmaking at Rutgers in the early 70s.
When the SoHo Weekly News commenced publication in 1973, Tannenbaum became the Photo Editor and Chief Photographer. 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.
Upon the demise of the SoHo News, Tannenbaum joined Sygma Photo News as a Staff Photographer. Since then he has covered, among many international news events, unrest in South Africa, the volcanic disaster in Colombia, the Philippine Revolution, rebellion in Burma, the Palestinian Intifada, the siege of Kabul, the Gulf War, and the Rwandan refugee crisis. He won a first prize in Spot New Stories at the World Press Photo competition in 1989 for his coverage of the Intifada. His work has appeared in many photo books and exhibitions, as well as appearing regularly in Newsweek, TIME, LIFE, Paris Match, and Stern. A book of his photographs from the SoHo News era entitled New York in the 1970s was published by Feierabend Verlag in 2003. Over 50 of these photos were exhibited in 1997 at Visa pour l’Image, the international photojournalism festival in Perpignan, France. Tannenbaum has had major exhibitions of his work all over the world.
Allan Tannenbaum covered the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11, photographing the explosion of the second plane and Ground Zero between tower collapses. His photojournalism has been published in Time, Paris Match, Newsweek, and numerous other magazines and newspapers for more than three decades. He now works with Polaris Images and the Tribeca Trib. A new book of New York City photos, from the 80s, 90s, and right up to July 4th, 2004, titled New York, has also been published by Feierabend. Tannenbaum lives with his wife Debora in Manhattan.