The Story Behind Johnny Cash's Infamous Middle Finger Photo

(Gibson) Before his death in March 2010, photographer Jim Marshall revealed the truth behind the infamous picture of Johnny Cash giving the middle finger to the camera. Marshall shot the photo during Cash's 1969 performance at San Quentin Prison.

According to the San Francisco Art Exchange, it was Marshall who prompted Cash to flip him the bird. "I said, 'John, let's do a shot for the warden,'" and the country legend made the gesture. Marshall said that the shot is, "probably the most ripped-off photograph in the history of the world."

Marshall's quotes were made public, according to, because of the new book, Pocket Cash, which collects the photographer's pictures of Johnny. A collection of the photos is also being exhibited at London's SNAP galleries. is an official news provider for the Day in Rock.

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