The new Caffè Design deck

Chuck O’Rear he had taken that road dozens of times, which in just over an hour’s journey leads from St. Helena (California) to Marin County, where Daphe Larkin was waiting for him, who later became his life partner.
It’s January 1996 and Chuck walks through the “Los Carneros” vineyard, a Sonoma, looking for some snaps for the book on local wines he’s working on with Daphne. The many years as a photographer for National Geographic have accustomed him to always carry his own Mamiya RZ67, ready to capture the unexpected, the right shot at the exact moment. O’Rear turns his head and looks out the window, sees a soft hill, the green is emerald, the blue sky. Stop the car.

During those weeks, the Sonoma area had been subjected to heavy rains, which restored the lawns in the area, just like the one Chuck now stands in front of, ready to take a picture that he has no particular expectations for. The selected movie is Fujifilm Velvia, which will help to better saturate the colors of the landscape. The shoot was successful, however Chuck and Daphne did not choose it for the book and so it was put up for sale thanks to the Corbis agency.

Silicon Valley at that time was not only green hills and beautiful scenery, but the great season of inventions in the field of technology and information was growing every day. It’s a few years after O’Rear’s stop on the road, in 2000, that Microsoft is looking for the default background for Windows XPits new operating system that Bill Gates will launch in October 2001.
The choice falls on the photo of the Sonoma hill, immediately renamed “Bliss“. The photographer never disclosed for what amount Microsoft bought all the rights to “Bliss”, he said that it is “the second highest sum ever paid in the world for the purchase of a single photograph“And that a confidentiality agreement has been signed with the company.

Happiness |  Security

Chuck O’Rear doesn’t know why Microsoft chose “Bliss” as their photo for Windows XP, but over the years he’s observed how it has become arguably the most viewed photograph in history. Microsoft slightly changed the colors of the sky and cut O’Rear’s frame slightly to the left, otherwise the photographer’s very ordinary trip entered billions of computers around the world.
“Bliss” has appeared on Time Square’s biggest billboards, in many of our private lives, and in events of historical significance. For example, Chuck and Daphne told People how they noticed “Bliss” in the background of the computer in the first historic diplomatic link between North and South Korea.
The story of “Bliss” is simple, a hill in California that has become a private space for billions of people, it is the story of an opportunity that could be seized simply by looking out the window.

Happiness |  Security

Leave a Comment