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

An open letter to Remain voters from a Leaver

“We must respect those with opposing views” by Amy Swales

29 Jun 2016

An open letter to Leave voters from a Remainer

“I'm worried about the message we're sending to the rest of the world” by Amy Swales

29 Jun 2016

“We are Europe”: photo reveals how EU migration benefits the NHS

The viral Facebook picture shows seven medics from five countries by Moya Crockett

29 Jun 2016

FriendsFest is back, complete with Vegas chapel and Smelly Cat karaoke

And this time, it's not just in London by Sarah Biddlecombe

29 Jun 2016

Watch the new Bridget Jones trailer

“The other day I was on Tinder, half an hour later I’m having a three-way” by Moya Crockett

28 Jun 2016

Support for Polish cultural centre following “despicable” graffiti

“I am so sorry to hear about what happened” by Amy Swales

28 Jun 2016

This dating app will match you with fellow Remain voters

For those heartbroken following Brexit? by Harriet Hall

28 Jun 2016

Twitter users send messages of solidarity to Europeans in the UK

“We love you and you deserve to be here” by Moya Crockett

28 Jun 2016

People are sharing their experiences of racist abuse following Brexit

“Shouldn't you be on a plane back to Pakistan? We voted you out.” by Amy Swales

27 Jun 2016

Stylist France editor Audrey Diwan on the French reaction to Brexit

“There are very strong, very real fears”

27 Jun 2016