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The story behind the iPad's home screen photo


When Steve Jobs revealed the iPad back in January, viewers stared in breathless amazement, none more so than Richard Misrach, the artist whose photo is the default home screen image.

He was sitting at home watching a movie when his phone rang. It was his agent, and he couldn't believe what was happening. Soon, Richard's family and friends were all calling. Needless to say, Apple's decision to use his photo for this "magical revolutionary device" was a surprise.

Misrach had submitted 10 photos for Apple to consider for "wallpaper" some time ago, but they had all been rejected, he told Art Info. There was no mention of the iPad at the time, but they eventually called back to say yes, they'd like to use his "Pyramid Lake (at Night)" photo.

He describes the image as "...a long night exposure where the moon is lighting up the mountains in the distance. I shot it on an 8x10 camera, so the quality is really beautiful and you can see star trails going through the sky." Those trails have startled some users, but I think they look great. The photo itself was taken at a Native American Indian reservation in Nevada.

Richard notes that this is the first time in his 40-year career that he's commercially licensed an image. He explains why with tongue-in-cheek style: "What's funny is that for years I actually used the photo as my own screensaver. So I guess they know what they're doing."

[Hat tip to Beau Colburn]

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