Windows XP Bliss Today
One of the most famous wallpaper images is undoubtedly the default Windows XP image showing a blissfully relaxing vista of green rolling hills and a bluer than blue sky. The wallpaper, probably one of the most viewed images of all time, is aptly named ‘Bliss.’ Do a Google image search for just the word ‘bliss,’ and the first result is the Windows wallpaper.
The man behind the camera is American photographer Charles O’Rear. Don’t let his name fool you into thinking that the photo was in fact taken in Ireland. Bliss, as it turns out, is in California. In Sonoma County to be exact. The photo was taken in 1996, years before Windows XP launched, and before the area was converted into a vineyard. In fact, a photo taken 10 years later from exactly the same spot where Bliss was shot, shows a disappointingly, dreary view
So how much did O’Rear get for taking what is considered one of the most famous photos of all time? A non-disclosure agreement prevents him from revealing the actual figure, but according to Napa Valley Register, O’Rear stated that it was:
“extraordinary” and second only to that paid to another living, working photographer for the photo of then-President Bill Clinton hugging Monica Lewinsky.
Taken with a medium format camera, the most surprising fact about the image is that O’Rear claims that it wasn’t digitally manipulated.
If you want to see it today just go to Google Maps and enter the following coordinates: 38.248966, -122.410269.