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The Bagpipe Society

Collecting Bagpipe Photos

I contacted Bill Reese to ask him to write about his collection of photographs of bagpipes. Bill is a “friend” of mine on Facebook and every so often up would pop a photograph of a bagpipe or bagpiper that was completely new to me. I searched further on his site to discover a veritable treasure trove of photos of bagpipers from all around the world. Clearly this man is an obsessive and I wanted to know more! Bill very kindly put together a brief summary of his thoughts on the subject accompanied by a wonderful selection of photos. Just his edited highlights would fill a whole copy of Chanter! So, as a compromise, below are Bill’s thoughts on his collecting habit with just a few examples. More will be in following editions of Chanter. I hope you enjoy them. Jane Many years ago I decided to see if I could find an actual picture of a Chuvash Sharpar. Being a Turkologist by training and profession, I was interested in tracking down bagpipes among the Turkic peoples. At that time it was more difficult to find pictures of non-highland bagpipes of any kind on the internet. All that was available at the time was an old newspaper clipping of two Sharpar players and an old post card picture. The more I looked for the Sharpar, the more interested I became in finding pictures for different cultures.

Worst of all I began to save the pictures on my computer. Now as the years have passed I am amazed at the number of pictures now available on the internet, Pinterest, Tumblr, Facebook and other picture sites. Searches of eBay sites in France or Italy are at times a gold mine of old postcards or old photographs, not to mention YouTube where you can not only see but now hear many of the vast variety of pipes. The Chuvash Sharpar is no- longer illusive and now available in all its glory as part of a Chuvash folk band on YouTube.

As is to be expected the vast majority of pictures on the internet are of the Scottish Highland pipes and their players, but my interest was directed only toward pipes of the non-highland variety. I now seem to have amassed over 700 pictures in the file, and new photos of non-highland pipes, which used to be rare, pop up on an almost daily basis. For many years a search for the Indian Titti yielded nothing but beautiful, well endowed Indian ladies! Now finally a Google search brings up an actual bagpipe:

Internet access to national museum collections is also an outstanding source for records. I have even written to national museums asking about possible old bagpipe pictures for my file and no, in case you ever wondered, Iceland has no national bagpipe according to the curator!

Of course I am not alone in my obsession, nor am I an expert on world bagpipes. There are many other great collectors of pictures of pipes of all kinds who share their collections on Facebook and other sites, Sean Folsom, Manuel Sanchez, Ferenc Tobak and Eduard Navarro to name just a few. Many collect a number of the actual pipes themselves, something my bank account will never support. But if you come across an interesting picture of an unusual non- highland pipe feel free to send it along to me at: