Photographer of ‘most viewed picture ever’ says he ‘just happened to be there in the right moment’
Entertainment

Photographer of ‘most viewed picture ever’ says he ‘just happened to be there in the right moment’

If a picture is going to hold the title of ‘most viewed ever’, you’d probably imagine it had been set up to perfection with a whole load of preparation and tools to ensure the ultimate snap.

I mean, sometimes it feels hard enough getting that snap of your scran for Instagram Stories. And yet the photographer who took what is said to be the ‘most viewed photo ever’ says he ‘just happened to be there in the right moment’. Lucky guy.

Chuck O’Rear is the guy behind ‘Bliss’ and while you might not know it by name, it’s more than likely you’ll have at least glanced at it.

Chatting to People, the photographer explained how he ‘always’ carries a camera because ‘you just never know’. The 82-year-old added: “I used to pull over often to take photos. I think the scenery there was so beautiful.”

O'Rear pulled over his car and took the snap. (YouTube/ Shoot The Rabbit/ Bart Leferink/ Marcel Buunk)

O’Rear pulled over his car and took the snap. (YouTube/ Shoot The Rabbit/ Bart Leferink/ Marcel Buunk)

And in January 1996, he was driving to visit his now-wife of 20 years, Daphne Larkin, in Marin County, California, when he was again presented with some beautiful scenery.

So beautiful that if you were one of the many brought up using Microsoft computers rather than Apple devices, you’ll have seen it in the background.

Yep, O’Rear took the snap of those luscious, green hills flowing into one another accompanied by a blue sky spotted with picture-perfect white clouds.

READ MORE:

BIZARRE OPTICAL ILLUSION OF WOMEN CONFUSES PEOPLE

AI CREATES ‘IDEAL’ BRITISH MAN AND WOMAN

Plus, making it more impressive, it wasn’t even photoshopped.

“When it’s on film, what you see is what you get,” O’Rear explained – the photographer taking the image using a Mamiya RZ67 camera with colour Fuji Film and a tripod.

“There was nothing unusual. I used a film that had more brilliant colours, the Fuji Film at that time, and the lenses of the RZ67 were just remarkable.”

'Bliss' by Chuck O'Rear. (Microsoft Windows XP)

‘Bliss’ by Chuck O’Rear. (Microsoft Windows XP)

He continued in a video for Microsoft: “The size of the camera and film together made the difference and I think helped the Bliss photograph stand out even more. I think if I had shot it with 35 millimetre, it would not have nearly the same effect.”

Although it was ‘just another picture for Chuck’, the photo has become his most famous. “Twenty-five years at Geographic and nobody ever gives a damn about that,” Larkin joked.

O’Rear added: “I get emails maybe every week or two, something related to the ‘Bliss’ photograph. When I die, although I won’t be buried, Daphne has said, on your tombstone, we’re not going to say National Geographic, we’re going to say, ‘Photographer of Bliss’.”

O'Rear's wife jokes it would be on his gravestone. (YouTube/ Shoot The Rabbit/ Bart Leferink/ Marcel Buunk)

O’Rear’s wife jokes it would be on his gravestone. (YouTube/ Shoot The Rabbit/ Bart Leferink/ Marcel Buunk)

His famous photo ended up at Microsoft after Bill Gates’ Corbis group bought Westlight stock photo agency (where O’Rear originally submitted it to) in 1998.

‘Bliss’ was then bought by Microsoft for a ‘low six-figure’ sum of over $100,000 (£78,523) and it became the Windows XP desktop image we all know and love.

However, the transaction didn’t go as smoothly as planned. The photo was so pricey that Fed Ex ‘wouldn’t touch it’ because of how hefty the insurance would be. So, O’Rear had to catch a flight and hand deliver the original photograph to Microsoft’s Seattle office himself, as per St Helena Star.

‘Bliss’ is ultimately the snap that’s followed the photographer to this day – no matter where he’s travelled around the world he can’t escape it.

The bloke can't escape Bliss. (YouTube/ Shoot The Rabbit/ Bart Leferink/ Marcel Buunk)

The bloke can’t escape Bliss. (YouTube/ Shoot The Rabbit/ Bart Leferink/ Marcel Buunk)

“The image is everywhere as we all know. […] The picture, no matter where we’ve been in the world – India, Thailand, Greece – that picture is always there, either on some old computer in an upscale hotel that hasn’t been updated in 30 years in the lobby the people are checking you in on, or, we saw that picture in billboards, airplanes, at airports,” O’Rear reflected. “We were walking through the Chicago airport years ago and there it was.”

He resolved: “I have a theory that anybody now from aged 15 on for the rest of their life will remember this photograph.

“So now I’m in secondary school, I’m 15 years old, I was on my computer in school and I go onto college and I go on into the work world and now I’m 50 years old, 70 years old and I see that image somewhere. I won’t remember where I saw it, but I will remember it.”

Featured Image Credit: YouTube/ Shoot The Rabbit/ Bart Leferink/ Marcel Buunk

Topics: Microsoft, Technology, Art