Do you recognize this photograph? Well, this photo did not changed the world but was pretty much the first view of the world for millions of people across. The default wallpaper for windows, this photo called “Bliss”, this is a landscape in Sonoma County, California. Taken by Charles O’Rear, photographer with National Geographic for 25 years, and now spends his time photographicing wine making across the world.
Every MS Windows user will be knowing the default Windows wallpaper, Bliss (The blue sky, the green hill and small white clouds, remember? OK, look at the pic above, wink…). The wallpaper which was introduced for Windows XP, as default, is pretty popular among Windows users.
Going to the history of this wallpaper, this photograph was shot by Charles O’ Rear, who works for a company named HighTurn. This photograph was taken in 1996 – which is around five years before XP was released. O’ Rear wanted to photograph the winemaking on that hill but, unfortunately at that time there was no grapevines on that hill.
The photograph Bliss, inspired a Windows XP’s advertising campaign called “Yes You Can” and thus the photograph entered into the XP home screen.
Later, in November 2006, artist collaboration Goldin & Senneby re-photographed the same site, from the same location. This time, it was full of Grapevines. Check the pic below.
Bliss is the name of a Windows bitmap image included with Microsoft Windows XP, produced from a photograph of a landscape in Sonoma County, California, southeast of Sonoma Valley near the site of the old Clover Stornetta Inc. Dairy. The image contains rolling green hills and a blue sky with stratocumulus and cirrus clouds. The image is used as the default computer wallpaper for the “Luna” theme of Windows XP.
The photograph was taken by the professional photographer Charles O’Rear, a resident of St. Helena, Napa County, for digital-design company HighTurn. O’Rear has also taken photographs for Bill Gates’ private Seattle stock photography company Corbis and Napa Valley photographs for the May 1979 National Geographic Magazine article Napa, Valley of the Vine. Although O’Rear’s focus was on photographing winemaking in the Napa Valley, the hill in Bliss didn’t have grapevines when the photograph was taken in 1996. The photograph was taken aside the highway 12/121, and by a hand held view camera. The approximate location is 3050 Fremont Dr. (Sonoma Hwy.), Sonoma, CA.
O’Rear’s photograph inspired Windows XP’s $200 million advertising campaign “Yes you can”, by the San Francisco division of New York City advertising company McCann-Erickson. The campaign was launched on television on ABC (America) during one of ABC Sports’s Monday Night Football games of the 2001 NFL season. The television commercials included Madonna’s Ray of Light song, whose TV rights cost Microsoft about $14 million.
In November 2006, artist collaboration Goldin+Senneby visited the site in Sonoma Valley where the Bliss image was taken, re-photographing the same view ten years later. Their work After Microsoft was first shown in the exhibition “Paris was Yesterday” at gallery La Vitrine in April 2007 and has later been exhibited at Galeria Vermelho, São Paulo, and 300m3 in Gothenburg.
In February 2007, in the collective exhibition Accrochage Vaud 2007 at Espace Arlaud in Lausanne, Sébastien Mettraux, a Swiss artist showed a photograph titled “Bliss”, after Bill Gates, 2006. Mettraux, who lives and works near the Vallée de Joux, explained that it was taken in Les Esserts-de-Rives, Switzerland.
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