World's most viewed photograph by Charles O'Rear

If you owned a Windows XP computer, then you viewed the image that has recently been called the world's most viewed photograph. Called the Bliss, it is the default wallpaper for the Luna theme of Microsoft's XP operating system, which was a big hit for the company. This success of the OS brought the photograph to the living rooms of as many as a billion people, if a blog is to be believed.

However, Charles O'Rear, the photographer who clicked the iconic picture, feels that the one-billion-figure is an educated guess rather than a fully-accounted-for statistic. Nevertheless, he does agree that the picture is easily one of the most recognisable across the world.

He says, "All the folks I talk with agree it is the most 'recognisable' photo ever. If it were shown to a villager in rural China, for example, good chance they would recognise 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 took the picture five years before Windows XP was rolled out, when he was passing through Napa Valley in California. After he captured the image, he refrained from altering or digitally improving it in any way. Though it is not known how much Microsoft paid for the photograph, O'Rear says that the amount was "extraordinary."


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