During his tenure as chief photographer for SoHo Weekly between 1973-1982, Allan Tannenbaum can’t have known that he would be presiding over one of the most important moments and places in musical history. In his glorious images, he chronicles the who’s who of the burning punk scene of 1970s New York in a collection of rare snaps.
In his “punk portfolio” which is simply fantastic, the photographer has images of almost every single artist of note during this time. During the 70s the city was full to the brim with talent, whether it was the CBGB and Max’s Kansas City contingent of Patti Smith, Lou Reed, The Ramones, Talking Heads and Debbie Harry’s Blondie or punk stalwarts like The Clash and Iggy Pop – if they were big enough to take a bite of the Big Apple Tannenbaum captured them on film.
“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.”
– Allan Tannenbaum, La Maison Rebelle (2018)
Take a look below at some of these infamous shots.