“Rebellion is the only thing that keeps you alive!” ~ Marianne Faithfull

Interview

  • Allan Tannenbaum

    Allan Tannenbaum

    You started taking photos in the 60’s and worked for SoHo Weekly News as a photojournalist. Were you always drawn toward photography?

    I started taking pictures in the 1960’s when I was living in San Francisco. When I was 19 years old a friend had a camera and it just interested me. I bought my own and learned how to use it and taught myself how to develop film and make prints. I would go to different places like North Beach, Haight-Ashbury and just photograph. In fact, I did my first rock concert photography there in 1968 when I photographed Jimi Hendrix performing. So it's just something that developed. I went to film school at San Francisco State, but I decided that I preferred being a still photographer and came back to New York at the end of the sixties. I tried different kinds of jobs like bartending, taxi driving and a merchant marine to support myself. All the time I was taking pictures and looking for work and I finally found what turned out to be the best job in New York City, staff photographer, chief photographer at the Soho Weekly News. An eight-page giveaway when it started, but something that turned into one of the hippest papers. It gave me access and entrée to the art world, the music scene, nightlife, politics and showbiz. It was just an amazing job. So that's how my passion for photography developed. At one point I went to see the famous art photographer, Ralph Gibson, who's still a friend. And he told me when I asked him for advice; "The work will show you the way." And that's what happened.

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