With the end of Windows XP, computer users will be able to erase Bliss from their minds. The iconic default wallpaper will soon no longer be around to haunt our computer monitors. Some Windows XP users saw it as an annoyance and quickly changed the desktop background to a photograph of their children or another random picture they found online. Some users saw the true beauty of Bliss. Some even doubted that the image could be real.
Charles “Chuck” O’Rear took the photograph in 1996 while driving on a curvy road in Northern California. He used his Mamiya RZ67 camera on top of a tripod and took a couple of photos. Bliss happened to be one of those two. Most people who view the image think there were some after effects or photo manipulation to help the photograph. O’Rear swears that the image is just as he shot it. He credits the camera and the use of Fujifilm as to how the photograph developed so splendid.
Today, that one photograph has been seen by millions. It has also found its way into other photographs and media presentations. Most government and business offices do not allow the changing of the desktop wallpaper. Because of this, video footage of the White House and other news reels have had the Bliss photograph make a cameo from time to time.
Even with the upcoming extinction of Windows XP, the erasure of Bliss does not mean that people will soon forget the now-famous photograph. The plan all along was to have a memorable scene greet the user every time a Windows XP computer was booted up. Some say that the choice of Bliss was not at all by accident.
The use of a hillside was meant to make the user feel as though they were truly staring out of an actual window. Users may not notice it at all, but their subconscious mind views the photograph as pleasant and helps us see that their computer is deeper than they initially saw. It is a visual stimulation that eases us as their work day goes by.
Many recognize the image more than the Windows XP startup screen. The startup screen only shows on your screen for seconds while the Bliss wallpaper can be displayed for hours. Users have become used to the wallpaper. Most even prefer it over the latest offerings from the newer versions of Windows. Some will say that the reason why people find the latest versions Windows so displeasing is because of the switch to backgrounds that feature streaks and swoops of lights.
Bliss was a milestone when it came to showing off the computer power of the latest hardware. The Windows 95 green default wallpaper revealed the lack of computer power to showcase high amounts of color. Windows 98 upgraded to a bitmap image of clouds against a light blue sky. Bliss was used to show the power of the latest computer hardware and how Windows XP can use that power to display high quality images and graphics. This would be proved true amongst Windows XP users as the operating system easily became a favorite of PC gamers who wanted sharper 3D games and high resolution textures.
As most people are ready to upgrade away from Windows XP, some will not be able to erase the photograph Bliss from their memory. The green hills and the blue sky will be forever sketched into our minds. Staring off into your computer may never feel the same again.
By Raul Hernandez