Any person that had used a PC in the last decade must be familiar with the default desktop image of Microsoft’s XP operating system entitled Bliss. The picture shows a rolling green hill and a blue sky with nice white clouds and is thought to be the most viewed image of the world.
The idyllic image was considered by many people to be created with specific software. Questions were also raised on the place where it was taken, in the cases when it was admitted to be real.
Few days ago Microsoft announced that will no longer support Windows XP. To mark the end of the longest working operating software, the company decided to reveal the story behind the intriguing photo.
From the video made by Microsoft in this regard, we learn that Bliss is a real photo taken in 1996 by former National Geographic photographer Charles O’Rear in the Napa Valley north of San Francisco. The now 73 old photographer snapped the famous picture after a storm while he was driving along the Sonoma Highway to visit his then girlfriend in the city.
When he saw the sunny hill covered by amazing green grass, Charles O’Rear stopped his car, set his Mamiya RZ67 camera on a tripod, chose a Fuji film for its brilliant colors and took four shots. It is possible that the clouds in the picture came in while he was setting his camera. Anyway, according to the photographer, Bliss was not digitally enhanced or manipulated in any way by him. He attributes the image success to the combination of camera and film.
After he took the photo, Charles O’Rear made it available through Corbis, as a stock photo, but in 2000 Microsoft showed great interest in this picture and bought all the rights to it. According to Charles O’Rear, Microsoft’s payment is the second largest ever made to a photographer for a single image. Because of the confidentiality agreement O’Rear signed with the company, we probably will never find out the value.
All we know is that couriers and delivery services refused to ship the original negative of the image because the value was higher than their insurance would cover. The only solution was for Charles O’Rear to personally deliver it to the Microsoft’s offices. So, he did. The company sent him a plane ticket so he could deliver it in person.
Charles O’Rear didn’t make any change on the picture. However, Microsoft cropped it and turned up the saturation for the desktop version.
When he submitted his photo, Charles O’Rear didn’t suspect that it will become one of the most memorable desktop image. But now the photographer believes that “anybody now from age 15 on for the rest of their life will remember this photograph”.
Watch the video below to find more details about the iconic desktop wallpaper.
Have you ever wondered if Bliss was a real photo or not?
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