ROXBURY — The work of veteran photographer Allan Tannenbaum reveals the eye of an artist behind the lens that captured the many poignant portraits he has produced.
He is a master of a variety of fields of photography, and among them have been his images of various talented musicians, some of whom were still ascending in their careers and some who had already topped the charts when he shot them.
Back in the 1970s and early 1980s, Tannenbaum had access to the raucous New York City rock ‘n’ roll scene, and was there with backstage access when a variety of pop, punk and New Wave artists drew packed houses at such clubs as CBGB’s in Manhattan.
Along the way, he also had two shoots with rock legend John Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono. The first in 1975, just before Lennon went into seclusion, and again in late 1980, just days before the former Beatle would be killed by a disturbed fan outside the apartment building where he and Ono resided.
Selections of Tannenbaum’s work will make up a special exhibit that opens at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Orphic Gallery in Roxbury, which is also the home of the Eight Track Museum, now celebrating its first year in existence.
Tannenbaum has playfully dubbed the show “Except The Dolls,” because a critic once whined that one of the photography books he issued had no shots of the New York Dolls, a seminal band of the 1970s. Tannenbaum explained in an interview that he simply never had the chance to shoot the Dolls in those days when he was a photographer for the SoHo News.
A part-time resident of Roxbury Run, Tannenbaum said he believes his work is a good match for the Orphic Gallery.
“There is an interesting nexus of photography and music,” he said. “People always enjoy seeing pictures of their favorite musicians, and I was lucky enough to have really good access at concerts, backstage to get unique images. Hopefully, they evoke something about the musicians and that time in the city. For people who were there, it really means a lot to be able to reconnect with that through the photographs.”