The untold story behind the world's most viewed photo; Windows XP Bliss.
The iconic default wallpaper of Windows XP, Bliss, is said to be the most viewed photo in the world. It was clicked by Chuck O’Rear, a National Geographic photographer, in January 1996 while he was headed to meet his future wife in California. The picturesque landscape became famous worldwide after Microsoft bought it from Corbis, a stock photo agency, and named it Bliss. The amount Microsoft paid for the photo was not revealed due to a non-disclosure agreement, but according to Ladbible, Chuck O’Rear received over $100,000 for the click, making it the largest sum ever paid for a single photo.
Chuck O’Rear captured the photo using a Mamiya RZ67 film camera, and he submitted it to Corbis. Later, Microsoft came across the photo and bought it. The Bliss photo, with its scenic green hills and beautiful white clouds, has become a symbol of nostalgia and is expected to be around forever.
Apart from Bliss, Microsoft also purchased another wallpaper, Autumn, which was clicked by Peter Burian and was also uploaded on Corbis. However, Peter Burian received significantly less than Chuck O’Rear, only $45 for his photo. Nonetheless, both Chuck O’Rear and Peter Burian’s photos are still associated with Windows XP.
Chuck O’Rear revealed that he always carries a camera and would often stop while driving to take photos. He captured the Bliss photo without realizing that one day it would become the default desktop image on almost every computer worldwide. The photo has become a part of our collective memory and evokes nostalgia every time we see it.