Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

The world's most viewed photo

image.jpg

When you think iconic photos, images such as Alfred Eisenstaedt's V-J Day in Times Square or the Vietnamese "napalm girl" shot by Associated Press photographer Huynh Cong Ut, spring to mind.

However, the reality of the world's most viewed image is rather more bland - it's Microsoft's default wallpaper for Windows XP.

Titled Bliss, the photo of rolling hills in Sonoma County, California has been viewed by over one billion people since its launch in 2001 and over 400 million official copies have been used in the past six years alone.

The original image was shot by photographer Charles O’Rear in 1996. He was driving along Highway 121 when he decided to stop by the side of the road and take a photo using his medium format camera.

Microsoft have blocked him from revealing exactly how much he was paid for the image: but he has since indicated it was a huge amount for a single photo - second at the time only to that paid for an image of the then-President Bill Clinton hugging Monica Lewinsky.

As you can see from the photos below, Sonoma County remains a beautiful spot for photos with gently rolling valleys, dramatic mountain ranges and picturesque vineyards.

Photos: Rex Features and Getty Images

Related

Untitled-6.jpg

Now you can have your Instagram and eat it

Solange-Knowles-Madewell_5.jpg

Solange Knowles signed by Madewell

art.jpg

Stylist's live stream: the art project

Comments

More

Samantha Baines: “It’s time to leave our vaginas the hell alone”

The Call the Midwife star has her say on vaginal beauty treatments

by Kayleigh Dray
26 May 2017

Ramadan: The best places to break your fast in London

These London restaurants provide late night openings and special iftar menus

26 May 2017

10-year-old survivor’s letter to Ariana Grande is beyond beautiful

“I really hope you’re not too scared”

by Kayleigh Dray
26 May 2017

It’s official: this easy email hack is guaranteed to boost read rates

Make your emails stand out in your recipient's inbox with one simple trick

by Jasmine Andersson
26 May 2017

Fathers pay more attention to daughters than sons, new study shows

Dads are also "more emotionally engaged" with girls

by Anna Brech
26 May 2017

Men are totally devastated by this women-only Wonder Woman screening

Who knew they were such big fans of Diana Prince?

by Moya Crockett
26 May 2017

Dog breaks into studio to help reporter read the news

The internet is obsessed with this live news blooper (and for good reason)

by Kayleigh Dray
26 May 2017

“Get over yourself”: gymnast hits back at stranger who judged her arms

Alexandra Raisman responds to “rude and uncomfortable” incident

by Anna Brech
26 May 2017

Fighting for their rights: the heroic teens battling period taboos

"I wasn’t allowed to comb my hair, look in the mirror, attend school, read and write."

by Sarah Biddlecombe
25 May 2017

Twitter responds to terror threat level the only way it knows how

#BritishThreatLevels showcases the self-deprecating humour we Brits seem to love

by Amy Swales
25 May 2017