The Mona Lisa is widely accepted as the world’s most famous painting, not the most expensive painting and not the prettiest painting. But simply the most famous painting! It does not matter where in the world you are there will always be someone who know of this masterpiece painted by Leonardo Da Vinci. According to the Louvre in Paris more than 6.8 million people view the painting every year!
The photographic equal to Mona Lisa might be surprising to you, but if I tell you that it has been seen by more than 1 billion! people since 2002 when it was published and printed the very first time and it is very likely that you have already seen this photo at least once today.
The photograph I am talking about is of course ‘Bliss’ taken by Charles O’Rear, an author and photographer who worked as staff photographer for National Geographic for more than 25 years and who sold this image to Microsoft more than ten years ago.
In fact the image was not taken during a planned photo shoot or as a part of an assignment, it was taken during a rest stop driving through the wine region of Napa Valley in California.
So, yet another great reason never to leave home without your camera.
It is a well kept secret how much money Bill Gates and Microsoft had to pay for the photo license more than a decade ago, but according to the photographer himself they agreed on an “extraordinary” and second only to that paid to another living, working photographer for the photo of then-president Bill Clinton hugging Monica Lewinsky*.
Today Charles resides in the Napa Valley, California from where he still runs his photo studio as well as spending most of his time writing articles and books about his other big passion here in life; the wines of California.
To see more of Charles’ work please visit his homepage here
Thanks for reading
* Source/quote: NapaValley Register