The most popular photo in the world is not some painting or a historical shot. It is what billions have seen, and millions will continue seeing each day when they turn on their computers.

Yes, we are talking about the Bliss wallpaper image that gained lasting fame through Windows XP.

And even though the operating system itself has reached end of support, its default wallpaper will still live on for years upon years. Redmond knows just how legendary this image is, and the company has created a short video tribute for the photo.

The documentary showcases the photographer that captured the images — Charles O’Rear, the 73 year old photographer says that he applied no effect, did not edit the picture at all.

Microsoft just slightly cropped it to better fit the desktop. Marvelous:

“There was absolutely no Photoshop or any editing involved. I live 60 miles north of San Francisco in a wine region of Napa Valley. I took the photograph in an area called Carneros. I took the picture in 1998, when I was driving down to see my then girlfriend Daphne.”

You can watch the video below:

However, as so often happens, the region where the Bliss wallpaper photo was taken is completely different now. So much so that it is impossible to stop and admire the landscape.

See for yourself:


Quiet a drastic change from the original image of some 16 years back. The little 9 minute documentary, on the other hand, is nicely produced, and well worth a watch, for the nostalgia factor alone.

As far as the image is concerned, there is little doubt that the photo itself will continue to bring back memories every time someone sees it. It is the very definition of iconic, at least when it comes to computing technology.

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  1. Pretty cool story. I like them giving background on this, but I have always disliked that photo. I’m not sure what it is, but I liked the beach or mountain picture much more.

  2. I’m all for reminiscing, but why in the world would they release this RIGHT after they stopped security for XP. It seems counter intuitive to me.

    • You’re right. The last thing Microsoft needs is to make people nostalgic for XP. Curious timing on this to say the least.

  3. Really neat video. Thank you for sharing that, Fahad. I always loved that background and it makes me miss XP in some ways. In others, I’m glad I move on.

  4. Very cool video. I like the derivation of it, but Azul was the best XP background to me! 🙂

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