Project Description

Andy Earl made the instantly recognisable photograph of Johnny Cash that was used on the cover of the Grammy award winning 1994 album American Recordings.

That photograph is now one of the best known images of Johnny Cash and became an instant icon. It shows Cash dressed in a long black coat, with his guitar case in front and a dog at either side, a wheat field as the backdrop and drama in the skies. The album was hailed by critics and many declared it to be Cash’s finest album since the late 1960s.

American Recordings Album Session
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After 15 years without a hit album, Johnny Cash made a comeback in 1994 with American RecordingsAndy photographed the cover in Australia, where Johnny Cash was touring with Kris Kristofferson. The initial idea was to shoot him on railway tracks – which didn’t quite produce the desired results. At the same time, ominous clouds were forming in the sky. Johnny Cash wore a long black cloak and held on to his guitar case. Andy asked him to stand in the adjacent wheat field.  The legend goes that, as Johnny Cash was getting ready, the two dogs – one white with black markings, the other black with white markings – appeared from nowhere and and positioned themselves on each side of him. He said in an interview with the New York Post that the dogs were symbolic of sin and redemption.

Telegraph
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“Johnny was a man of few words, charming but with a powerful presence and a glint in his eye. I could tell that he was not to be messed with.”

– Andy Earl

Hands
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Portrait
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Railway Line
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Redemption
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American Recordings Contact Sheet
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Guitar
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“When I was really bad, I was not all bad. When I was really trying to be good, I could never be all good. There would be that black streak going through.”

– Johnny Cash

Cabin
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Bootscraper
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Dolls
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Liberty
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Unchained Session
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Flower
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Little Liberty
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My Mother’s Hymn Book
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