'Bliss' Possibly The Most Viewed Photo

2012-09-04 9

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 on 2012-09-04 #news #medium-format #charles-o-rear


  1. superkulisap
    superkulisap ·


  2. kotek911
    kotek911 ·

    CHE Guevara of course..

  3. t0m7
    t0m7 ·

    The Beatles - Abbey Road Cover is quite recognizable too

  4. cyan-shine
    cyan-shine ·

    @kotek911 yeah and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Falling_Soldier Loyalist Militiaman at the Moment of Death, Cerro Muriano, September 5, 1936.

  5. mafiosa
    mafiosa ·

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

  6. giovannidecarlo
    giovannidecarlo ·

    GREAT !

  7. schlogoat
    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.

  8. razibus56
    razibus56 ·

    Here is the same hill but at the present day :

    A bit less poetic

  9. buckshot
    buckshot ·

    Seriously...? I'd say this Apollo 11 moon landing shot is more widely recognized: historynotes.net/2010/10/the-apollo-moon-landing/us-moonlan… (And MUCH more interesting too!)

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