With the end of Microsoft's support for the XP operating system on April 8th, an era spanning thirteen years has come to end. At least many of us will have common memories, as the iconic desktop image of a rolling landscape against an azure sky known as 'Bliss' has been viewed by at least one billion people.
As part of XP's retirement party, Microsoft hunted down the original photographer, Charles 'Chuck' O'Rear, to interview him about the world-famous shot he took in 1996. A former National Geographic photographer, O'Rear didn't have Microsoft in mind when he captured four frames of a Californian hillside with his Mamiya RZ67 medium-format camera.
When O'Rear submitted his image to stock photo licensing service Corbis, it subsequently found its way to Microsoft. The software giant made an undisclosed offer for the image, believed to be one of the largest amounts ever paid for a single photograph.