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March 18th, 2008

ALLAN TANNENBAUM: THE EYES HAVE IT!

by Mr. Norman Maine

jlyo

Photographer, photojournalist, artist–pick a title for Allan Tannenbaum and it’ll fit. Allan has long been capturing and recording some of the most important events in popular culture, all the while keeping a visual record of the changing landscape of our lives and our city.

Tannenbaum’s work has been featured on the covers of ROLLING STONE, FORTUNE, LePOINT, ESQUIRE, NEWSWEEK, and countless others. His first two books, New York in The 70’s, and New York capture their subjects with a perfectly candid, caring eye. One can see from his work that he’s truly interested in what he’s shooting. Allan has the rare capacity to let the viewer see what he’s feeling when he’s shooting. One only needs to see his shockingly beautiful series of photographs of the attack on the World Trade Center. From the explosion of the second plane hitting the tower to their dramatic and horrifying collapse to the debris-covered streets and the rescue workers, the terror we were all feeling is somehow captured in the increments of the click of a camera’s shutter.

But never has such a loving eye been cast on a subject as the photos we are treated to in Tannenbaum’s new book, John & Yoko: A New York Love Story.

Obviously John and Yoko are two of the world’s most photographed people and to this very day, 27 years after his death, John Lennon is more iconic than ever–and his message of peace has never been needed more. Many of the images in this beautifully printed book have never been seen before and it’s like a walk back in time to see some of these charming and very disarming shots of John and Yoko sitting on a bench in Central Park, and oddly enough, sitting right in front of what would shortly become Strawberry Field, the memorial for the slain Lennon.

There are so many things to love about this book, but one thing really stands out and that’s the chilling preface written by Yoko Ono, describing the day some of the more candid pictures of she and Lennon were taken–it was literally a handful of days before his murder. There are also some strikingly sweet and sincere photos of John and Yoko taken in SoHo. When you look at the images you can see how in love they were and how comfortable they had become with each other and suddenly thoughts of sadness and loss will overtake you.

Near the book’s close there are several shots of the Dakota, where the Lennons lived. There are stirring shots of Mark David Chapman in custody, and there are also some very moving images of the tens of thousands of mourners who gathered on Central Park West for the vigils. Also included are photos of Yoko after John’s death taken at the Dakota and in the Park. Tannenbaum captured the weight of her loss; it’s heartbreaking. Also, there is a really stunning portrait of young Sean. Trust me, there is a lot here. These are worthwhile, amazing photos of one of the greatest men of all time and his smart, fascinating, and gifted wife, taken by one of the most intriguing and talented photographers, photojournalists, artists to ever hold a camera.

We have to take a moment here to thank the now defunct SoHo Weekly News. Had they not sent Allan Tannenbaum on assignment to shoot Yoko, and had he not asked to shoot Sean Lennon, to which Yoko declined but offered John instead, the world may never have been treated to these powerful images that became the springboard to a career, which have thus allowed us to share in all of Allan’s great works.

Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Insight Editions
$45.00 US. To contact Mr. Tannenbaum
go to www.sohoblues.com

Filed Under: Articles | Arts & Leisure | New York

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