TIL about the Windows XP wallpaper. The image is called “Bliss” and it’s a supposedly unedited image of a hill found on the Los Carneros American Viticultural Area. The photographer, Charles O’Rear, says he took it on his way to visit his girlfriend. Eventually in 2000, he was contacted by Microsoft

Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bliss_(image)

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  1. Op forgot to mention O’Rear was a National Geographic photographer. He had the image already available as a stock image through Corbis and Getty — but Microsoft wanted to own it outright. It was the second largest payment for a single image but O’Rear signed a confidentiality agreement so no one knows the exact amount. (rumored to be in the low six figures)

    QUOTE: “O’Rear needed to send Microsoft the original film and sign the paperwork; however, when couriers and delivery services became aware of the value of the shipment, they declined since it was higher than their insurance would cover. So the software company bought him a plane ticket to Seattle and he personally delivered it to their offices.”[1] “I had no idea where it was going to go,” he said. “I don’t think the engineers or anybody at Microsoft had any idea it would have the success it’s had.”[21]

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