H-AVILA BEACH

Jun 4, 2013 8:33 PM by Cameron Polom, KSBY News

New Forever stamp features Johnny Cash in photo taken by Central Coast man

The US Postal Service has put its stamp of approval on musician Johnny Cash.

An iconic image of Cash from his 1963 "Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash" album is featured on the upcoming collectors stamp.

That photo was taken by a photographer living right here on the Central coast.

"There are all sorts of side stories on this one," said photographer Frank Bez.

In 1963, working for Columbia Records, Bez got the assignment of shooting an album cover for music star Johnny Cash.

"I figured he was going to be a tough subject," said Bez; however, Cash and Bez quickly found common ground, in music.

Over a decade, Bez would shoot Cash more than a dozen times and says he'll never forget the first time.

"We were looking for a location and he's in the back seat and he's got a rifle," said Bez. "He's firing the rifle out of the back of the car, fortunately we're out in the tooleys but I was still scared to death we would get into some kind of trouble."

Ten years later they would get together again for a shoot at Bez's LA studio.

The goal was to shoot a photo for Cash's upcoming tribute album, "Ring of Fire."

As the day came to an end, Bez felt he had caught the moment, but says the now iconic shot chosen for the forever stamp wasn't his first choice.

"I mean it's not a bad shot. I was more interested in the photographic aspect rather than capturing his essence," said Bez.

When asked if the 82-year old photographer had any more adventures in store, he responded the only way Cash would have liked.

"I've got more songs to play for sure," said Bez.

Unfortunately, Bez says he does not have the original photos of Cash. Those are now owned by Sony.

Nonetheless, soon everyone will be able send Bez's iconic photo to anyone for just a few cents.

The limited addition stamp will be available on June 5th.

Bez will also being holding an autograph session on the 19th at the Avila Beach Post Office.

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