Learn the history behind the best known Windows XP wallpaper

The landscape above is one of the best-known in the world. Opening the startup screen of Windows XP, it is estimated that over one billion people have seen the Green Plains and white clouds photographed by Charles o’rear. What few people know is that the image, taken from a plain in Sonoma in the United States, would be one of the biggest disappointments of the American photographer.

Windows XP wallpaper

“I had no idea that she would become the most viewed photo and recognized in the world,” said o’rear recently for the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper. When the photographer, now 73 years old, sold his image for Microsoft, he didn’t know that more than million people see it stamped on the computer screen.

“If I knew how popular it would become and how many computers would be with her, I would have done a deal and commented ‘ just give me a few pennies for each time she is seen ‘. That would be a better deal, “confesses the photographer, although without revealing how much he received for that image.

$ 10 million in a photo

Experts estimate that if Charles o’rear had charged their photography a penny for each copy of Windows XP sold, the comedian today would have profited more than $ 10 million.

(Image source: reproduction/Sydney Morning Herald)

Contrary to what many may think, the Plains that adorn the image are not located in Ireland. Strolling around California to pick up his girlfriend in 1996, o’rear stopped the car to admire the landscape of fields and take a picture with your camera Mamiya RZ67. A storm passed through the site, but some clouds had become – and from there he took the iconic photo.

Shortly thereafter, Microsoft had discovered the image thanks to a photo agency that Bill Gates had founded in 1989. However, files with did not present a very good quality, so the company sought to buy the original photographer.

“They asked for the original, then we call the postal service”, says o’rear, noting that transportation would be too expensive to ensure the safety of the photo. “So Microsoft told me ‘ there’s a plane ticket, bring us that image, she is very valuable.”

Does the company of Bill Gates already knew at the time that the photo would be so famous?

See how the landscape is today!

The photo may not have yielded millions of dollars to Charles o’rear, but at least we can see how the place is different from the moment captured by photographer in 1996. Through Google Streetview, it is possible to rediscover the landscape graced for so long the small screen of your computer. Are you curious? Do check out how she is these days in the image below.

(Image source: reproduction/Google Street View)

The exact spot where o’rear froze the image is currently difficult to access because the Plains now belong to a local winery. After all, some years separate the green pastures of Windows XP to the landscape of today. But what did you think? A little different from the famous wallpaper who starred in your computer?