Photographs comprise an important part of organ documentation, and providing a photographic record of organs past and present is an integral part of the OHS Pipe Organ Database. We are happy to provide online access to thousands of pipe organ photographs, our search forms for photographs are open to all site visitors, and we regularly receive and curate photographs from around the world.

We hope the information on this page will inspire you to take a camera along the next time you visit an organ. The list of photograph subjects and content you see below is meant to give you a general idea of what to photograph when you are visiting a pipe organ. We don't mean it to restrict your creativity, but to just get you started. However, it is also important for you to be aware of several restrictions we face in publishing your photos, however, so we've included some information about that as well.

Everything here is meant to be helpful, but if you have questions, don't hesitate to ask them via e-mail to database@organsociety.org.

Content of the Photographs

As you can see from this short list, we interpret the phrase "pipe organ photograph" quite liberally. When you think of additional related pipe organ subjects, let us know. We'd love to hear from you.

  • Organ consoles and keydesks. When you photograph a console, we hope you will include close-up photographs of the stop controls, in addition to more general shots of the entire console or keydesk. It is often helpful to others if you remove the bench for one photograph, so that swell shoes and pistons can be seen.
  • Builders' Nameplates. OHS has always placed a strong emphasis on using organ builders' names in the form that appears on nameplates or nameboards, so it should come as no surprise that we include this as a separate category, not just as a detail of the console.
  • Pipework. Photographs that clearly show pipework can reveal details of construction that many find interesting. Lighting inside chambers and cases may present problems, but the getting a clear shot of a hand-inscribed voicer's mark can be worth the effort.
  • Façades, pipe displays, and organ cases. Although console details and close-ups of pipes are important to the documentation of a pipe organ, please don't forget to show us the broader picture. Disposition of the organ in the room, the "face" it presents to the world, and even the grille it hides behind can tell a site visitor about the organ.
  • Trompettes en chamade. To some this is just another kind of pipework, but to others it can be a thrilling sight. Don't neglect to send us photographs of the "party horn" when you see one.
  • Buildings. "The most important stop on the organ" is something that should never be ignored as you take photographs to send us. Photographs that show the room as a whole from different angles are important, as are good representations of the exterior of many buildings. Don't be shy about crossing the street to get a better shot than we can see on Google Street View!

Source

We hope you will send us current photographs, and we expect many of them will be made with digital cameras or smartphone cameras. However, we are also happy if you have some of your own print photographs scanned to send us. We also acknowledge that there is a great treasure hidden away in many albums or storage boxes in the form of photographs of organs that have since been destroyed or modified beyond their original appearance.

Regardless of the original medium, your photographs may be the only image that many organists will ever see of a pipe organ you visit. We are happy to provide a platform where others can see your work.

On the other hand, when photographs have been published or printed in other sources, we respect the rights of those photographers and owners. For that reason, we ask that you do not send us photographs you have scanned from works under copyright restriction. We expect the same respect and honorable treatment from others for your photographs after we publish them via the OHS Pipe Organ Database.

Publication and Privacy

When you send us photographs you give us the right to publish them on the OHS Pipe Organ Database website. We will not publish them further, particularly in any of our print media, without seeking additional permission from you to do so. It is our stated policy that no images on the OHS Pipe Organ Database website may be used by others in any commercial way. We will allow their use for academic or non-profit use, but we will always let you know when we grant others that right.

Although we will retain your e-mail address to use in the future, we will not share that address with others. If we receive inquiries about any of your photographs, we will send you their e-mail address; it will be your decision whether or not to contact them to discuss their intended use of your photographs.