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

No more meat (during the week): why I'm going flexitarian for Lent

"From as early as I can remember, meat has been the norm — until now." by Katie O'Malley

12 Feb 2016

Why the “belief” question could be a step back for sex abuse survivors

“Survivors of serious sexual offences need to be encouraged to come forward, not deterred, disbelieved and silenced.” by Amy Swales

11 Feb 2016

Illustrator captures the beauty of being single

“I like to show women who exist in solitude but do not suffer” by Sejal Kapadia Pocha

11 Feb 2016

Hollywood producer tweets reveal outrageous sexism in script intros

“Blonde, fit, smokin’ hot” by Harriet Hall

11 Feb 2016

How marriage pressure is ruining Chinese New Year for many women

A tale of family tensions and emotional blackmail

11 Feb 2016

The surprising thing that’s likely to increase sexual satisfaction

The secret to intimacy by Sejal Kapadia Pocha

10 Feb 2016

Book tickets to Stylist’s Life Lessons event

On Wednesday 9 March, join three successful women as they share their most valuable life advice

09 Feb 2016

Wanted: home for giant rabbit who loves cuddles

A rabbit the size of a dog is in need of a home after his owner could no longer care for him by Charlotte Duck

09 Feb 2016

The definitive guide to acing a job interview

How to land your dream job by Sarah Biddlecombe

09 Feb 2016

Veganuary diary: To be vegan or not to be vegan?

Here’s to more mindful eating by Harriet Hall

08 Feb 2016