Bliss: the story behind the iconic Windows XP desktop photo

31 March 2014Photography

Lexy Savvides, writing for CNET about the default desktop image in Windows XP:

Despite what many people might think, the original frame of Bliss was completely unaltered and unedited by Chuck when he submitted it to Corbis, the stock photo and image licensing service founded by Bill Gates in 1989.

Corbis — which means woven basket in Latin — had maybe 50 photographers on file when Chuck submitted Bliss. Today, there are over 100 million images in the database.

Bliss was purchased by Microsoft for an undisclosed sum. While Chuck can’t reveal how much he was paid due to a non-disclosure agreement, it was one of the largest amounts ever paid for a single photograph. He still doesn’t know how Microsoft found the photo, whether through keywords or by typing in phrases like “rolling green hills”.

I’ve probably seen the Bliss photo ten thousand times but never once stopped to think about its origins. I love this type of story.