Hi, I'm JJ!

Photo of JJ Gonson

I've been obsessed with music from the time I was a small girl.

In the mid-1980s, I began shooting live and posed photos of musicians for newspapers and magazines. I quickly discovered that my photography granted me access to musicians and bands I loved, and I spent the last half of that decade shooting hardcore and punk bands in clubs around the Boston area. Every week, I'd spend a few nights of free time striving to preserve the personal experience of music. In 1990, I moved west to Portland, Oregon. I'd worked in management and show booking in the independent music industry, and that experience provided myriad opportunities to meet cool bands and shoot promo photos and cover art for them.

Much of my work depicts the energy of live music, but portraits have dominated my portfolio from the early 80’s to present day. These decades of experience have birthed an intimate portrait collection of musicians, friends and fans- live and candid, onstage and off.

My archive includes obscure pictures of Kurt Cobain, Elliott Smith, Jane’s Addiction and Black Flag- along with hundreds of other punk and independent bands. My work has been published in books including Torment Saint: a Biography of Elliott Smith, Cobain Unseen and Cobain on Cobain as well as in fanzines such as xXx and Suburban Voice and many magazines, including Rolling Stone, Mojo, Q and Spin.