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'Bliss' Possibly The Most Viewed Photo

The default Windows XP wallpaper featuring a peaceful green meadow and serene blue sky is the most ubiquitous photo, according to the Morts Photography blog. With a "guesstimated" 1 billion views, the medium-format photo was shot by Charles O'Rear who claims it was not digitally enhanced in any way.

Bliss. Photo by Charles O’Rear

Countless shutterbugs have headed to Sonoma County, California trying to replicate what is possibly the most recognized photo of all time.

Charles O’Rear, a wine enthusiast and stock photographer for Bill Gates’s Corbis, was originally on assignment to photograph Napa Valley and happened to take the famed Sonoma Valley photo from the highway while driving en route.

Shot on a medium format camera, he claims the image was not digitally manipulated whatsoever. Five years later, it became the default wallpaper for Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system.

The artist. Photo via Saeed

“All the folks I talk with agree it is the most ‘recognizable’ photo ever. If it were shown to a villager in rural China, for example, good chance they would recognize it. If it were shown to astronauts on the ISS, good bet they would know it, too. I have seen it appear in photos of the White House situation room, the Kremlin, etc.”

O’Rear didn’t disclose details but said he was paid an “extraordinary” amount by Microsoft for his photo of the green pasture on a picture perfect day. Talk about Bliss!

Can you think of a more popular, recognizable photo?

Visit Morts Photography and Charles O’Rear for more info. Sources include Mashable, Wikipedia, and Petapixel.

written by denisesanjose


  1. superkulisap



    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  2. kotek911


    CHE Guevara of course..

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  3. t0m7


    The Beatles - Abbey Road Cover is quite recognizable too

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  4. cyan-shine


    @kotek911 yeah and http://en.wikipedia.(…)ing_Soldier Loyalist Militiaman at the Moment of Death, Cerro Muriano, September 5, 1936.

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  5. mafiosa


    Great article. To be honest, I didn't even realize that it was a photo. I thought it was completely created digitally.

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  6. giovannidecarlo


    GREAT !

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  7. schlogoat


    @mafiosa- me too! I see it differently now. However, when I had XP, it was always the first thing I got rid of when reinstalling.

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  8. razibus56

    Here is the same hill but at the present day : http://www.bourgogne-live.com/2011/09/importante-mise-a-jour-windows-xp-la-colline-la-plus-connue-au-monde-est-devenue-une-vigne/ A bit less poetic
    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  9. buckshot


    Seriously...? I'd say this Apollo 11 moon landing shot is more widely recognized: http://historynotes.(…)oonlanding/ (And MUCH more interesting too!)

    over 2 years ago · report as spam

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Nederlands, Italiano, 日本語, 한국어, Português, Československy & Spanish.