Ten days before John Lennon was killed, photographer Allan Tannenbaum captured intimate portraits of the music legend and his wife, Yoko Ono. Reluctant to capitalize on what were certainly some of their final moments together, Tannenbaum refrained from publishing the photos until now, nearly 27 years later.
Thanks to my mother, a woman with discerning taste and a passion for NPR, I found the “Day to Day” report on Tannenbaum, the talented photographer who unwittingly memorialized John Lennon’s final days.
The resulting photographs, recently released in his new book, Yoko and John: A New York Love Story portray the couple as they were: intense, joyful lovers.
With fleshy, nude bodies, they pose in various imitations of copulation, their facial expressions as honest as their nakedness. They vacillate between solemnity and rapture, dressed and undressed, as Tannenbaum’s camera challenges the relationship between subject and spectator: clad in leather in Central Park, the glare of a searching couple pierces the lens - it’s almost as if they are observing us.