This man shot the most viewed photograph of all time, and he's just done it all over again
It is one of the most recognizable photos on the planet and for many people, it's the image that defined their forays into the technological world we now live in. "Bliss" by Charles O'rear formed the background for Windows XP, and it is one of those images that brings up a host of memories as soon as you see it. Looking at the image now, I can hear the dial-up internet, my mom shouting at me to get off as she needs to use the phone, and the low-quality songs I downloaded through Limewire.
It's estimated that over 1 billion people have set their eyes on the photo during its time as a desktop background, making it the most viewed photograph in the world. Now, 21 years later and at the grand old age of 76, Charles O'Rear is aiming to produce "the next generation of wallpapers" and they look just as good as the original.
Here's the man behind the images, Charles "Chuck" O'Rear.
The infamous picture, which is recognised around the world, was taken by O'Rear in Sonoma County, California. The photographer says that he was on his way to see his then-girlfriend when he took the image on his medium format camera.
Speaking about his experience of being the man behind "the most viewed photo in history", Charles said:
“I am turning seventy-six and realize how much the Microsoft Bliss photograph has meant to my life. As the photographer of the most viewed photo in history, I have enjoyed every minute of the fame”
However, not one to sit on his laurels, Charles said that he is aiming to produce "the next generation of wallpapers" for smartphone users. The new shots including the following.
This shot, titled Maroon Bells.
Talking about the new project, the photographer said: “I am thrilled to create for Lufthansa a sequel to the “Bliss” photo on smartphones so that my views of other beautiful places can continue to be enjoyed by millions of people”
While you may think that O'rear would've made a shed load of cash from the image, he disputes this and wishes that he negotiated a better deal at the time: "If I had known how popular it would become and how many computers it would've been on 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," O'Rear said. "It was not a royalty type of situation," O'Rear added. "It was a flat 'here's what we're paying you, thank you very much and let's get it on the [computer] screen and get moving'".
He may not have got the handsome payout that he probably should've done, but I'm sure O'Rear has made plenty of money from being the man behind the most viewed photograph in history. Besides, a true creative doesn't do it for money anyway, right?