Before the days of Photoshop one way photographers obtained strong, vibrant, saturated colors was with their choice of film. FujiChrome was renowned for its ability to turn a good day in to a stunningly bright and cheerful one. It was common to see photographers’ refrigerators full of different types of film stock; each with their own characteristics that would be chosen to suit the assignment. FujiChrome gave strong, saturated colors, Agfa stock could be relied on for its neutrality and Kodak flattered the features of portraiture clients.
One of the most viewed images of all time was taken using FujiChrome by photographer Charles “Chuck” O’Rear. The image was called ‘Bliss‘ and appeared as the default Desktop Wallpaper for Microsoft Windows XP.
In this YouTube video, released by Microsoft, Chuck O’Rear tells the story of how and where Bliss was taken and how it was worth so much money that FedEx wouldn’t transport it to Microsoft. Instead Microsoft paid for Chuck O’Rear to fly it to them personally.
Ansel Adams would often use Louis Pasteur’s saying that “Chance favors the prepared mind“. This is certainly true of Chuck O’Rear: he had his trusted 6 x 7 format camera in this car as he drove past ‘Bliss’. Had the weather been different, had it been a different season and had he not recognized beauty of the scene and been ready to capture the shot – Mr O’Rear would have most probably lost the opportunity to make a large amount of money that day.
To illustrate the point here is a photograph taken at the same location by Simon Goldin. The time of year and weather conditions make this image less salable than the one taken by Chuck O’Rear.
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