I am a native of Cambridge, MA and I studied photography in high school at the Cambridge School of Weston, as well as in college at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. I have always been fascinated with the concept of capturing memory. Documentary photography, particularly portraits, has dominated my body of work over the span of decades; from the early 80s to present day.

In the mid 80s, I discovered that it was possible to get access to shoot portraits of musicians and bands by signing on to create illustrative shots for magazines and newspapers. For the last half of that decade, I shot hardcore and punk bands multiple times a week in clubs around the Boston area.

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In 1990 I went west to Portland, Oregon. Working in management and show booking in the music industry, there was myriad opportunities to shoot bands who needed promotional photos and photos for cover art.

The result of my experiences is a collection of intimate portraits of musicians, friends and fans, both live on stage and candid off it. A collection that includes little seen pictures of Kurt Cobain, Elliott Smith, Jane’s Addiction, Black Flag and 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.

Thanks for looking! Contact me if you have any inquiries about publication or purchase of prints at:

JJ Gonson

Love, JJ