Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Bliss (image)

Bliss is the name of the default computer wallpaper of Windows XP, produced from the photograph of a landscape in Sonoma County, California. The image contains rolling green hills and a blue sky with cumulus and cirrus clouds. In the Dutch and Portuguese version of Windows XP, the wallpaper is named Ireland and Alentejo, respectively, despite the image being taken in California.

The photograph was taken by professional photographer Charles O'Rear, a resident of St. Helena, Napa County, for digital-design company HighTurn. According to O'Rear, the photograph was not digitally enhanced or manipulated in any way.

O'Rear has also taken photographs for Bill Gates's stock photography company Corbis and Napa Valley photographs for the May 1979 National Geographic article "Napa, Valley of the Vine". Although O'Rear's focus was on photographing winemaking in the Napa Valley, the hill in Bliss didn't have grapevines when the photograph was taken in 1996, five years before the release of Windows XP. The photograph was taken on the side of the highway 12/121[map 1] by a hand held medium-format camera. The approximate location is 3101 Fremont Dr. (Sonoma Hwy.), Sonoma, CA. The coordinates for the hill are 38.250124,-122.410817.

O'Rear's photograph inspired Windows XP's $200 million advertising campaign "Yes you can", by the San Francisco division of New York City advertising company McCann-Erickson. The campaign was launched on television on ABC (America) during one of ABC Sports's Monday Night Football games of the 2001 NFL season. The television commercials included Madonna's "Ray of Light song, whose TV rights cost Microsoft about $14 million.

On November 27, 2006, artist collaboration Goldin+Senneby visited the site in Sonoma Valley where the Bliss image was taken, re-photographing the same view ten years later. It was now full of grapevines. Their work After Microsoft was first shown in the exhibition "Paris was Yesterday" at the gallery La Vitrine in April 2007. and has later been exhibited at Galeria Vermelho, São Paulo,[citation needed] and 300m3 in Gothenburg.

In May 2010, a Flickr user uploaded an image of the exact same location, taken on May 2. The user, named Tony Immoos, said that the re-taken photograph from 2006 "was taken from the wrong location, approximately 350' farther Northeast", although it's the same hill.

In 2006, Sébastien Mettraux, a swiss artist made a photograph titled "Bliss, after Bill Gates, 2006". Mettraux, who lives and works near the Vallée de Joux, explained that it was taken in Les Esserts-de-Rives, Switzerland. A local rumour said that the hill of the Windows XP wallpaper came from this area in heart of the "watch valley". It is a mistake but the photography shows that the hill is a lookalike. This photography has been showed in the festival "Images'08" in Vevey .