More than 1 billion people have seen this photo — and if you’ve used a PC within the past 10 years, you’re probably one of them.
The iconic picture of a sloping green hill was the default desktop background on Window’s XP operating system. It is now, according to its photographer, 73-year-old Charles O’Rear, one of the most-seen photos in the world.
As O’Rear told Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald, he took the photo after a storm in California wine country in 1996 and submitted it to the stock agency Corbis, where Microsoft found it shortly thereafter. While the company did enhance the photo — the colors in the desktop version are far more vivid than in O’Rear’s original — it was otherwise unedited. It was also bought in one flat payment, something O’Rear regrets.
“I should’ve negotiated a [better] deal and said, ‘Just give me a fraction of a cent for every time it’s seen’ and that would’ve been a nice arrangement,” he told the Morning Herald.
O’Rear, who has also shot for National Geographic and the Los Angeles Times, and is now a prominent wine photographer, was in Australia as part of a tour to publicize Microsoft’s abandonment of the old XP system. That photo’s not going anywhere, though. Just try Googling “bliss.”