As far as careers in rock photography go, Jill Gibson’s is one of the briefest, however, her short stint behind the lens was certainly a memorable one.
The 3-day Monterey Pop Festival in California in 1967, featuring such legends as The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Brian Jones and Janis Joplin, is one of the seminal moments in American music history, and the famed event served as the backdrop for Jill’s place in rock photo history. At the time of Monterey Pop, Jill was dating the festival’s promoter Lou Adler and was living with him, Brian Jones and Nico during the festival. The Los Angeles-based Gibson, an aspiring photo-journalist at the time, was afforded exclusive behind-the-scenes access to the weekend-long festival and to the many performers, resulting in a wealth of memorable images, with many never offered for sale before.
“It was all very exciting,” recalls Gibson. “I was around lots of friends. It was a very exciting time, and the music was incredible. I was just discovering Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, who I had never heard before. I was totally blown away. I’m surprised I got any pictures at all of Jimi, I was just stunned by his performance”.
Gibson was also once a singing member of the group the Mamas and the Papas replacing Michelle Phillips on the band’s second album.