art-BLISS-620x349“Bliss” is the all too familiar landscape image shot by Charles O’Rear that came shipped with the Windows XP Operating System and was seen by roughly 1 billion people. If Microsoft paid a cent for each copy sold in royalties, he would have made $10 million. Although he didn’t reveal how much he was paid for the image, had he known that XP would perform well he would have asked for a better deal.

The image was taken in 1996 with a medium-format Mamiya RZ67 camera right after a storm passed through Napa and Sonoma counties in California. Although it has been widely speculated that the image was digitally altered, O’Rear reveals the image was not manipulated nor photoshopped. Microsoft discovered the image in a stock photography website called Corbis, which was created by Bill Gates. Microsoft fell in love with the image and decided to fly O’Rear to their headquarters for the original photograph.

The “Bliss” wallpaper is one of the most recognizable images for the past decade. O’Rear is in Australia to educate users that support and security updates will cease for arguable the best operating system from Microsoft, Windows XP.

Read more about this on the Sydney Morning Herald website.