A pipe band, for those of you who are unfamiliar, consists of bag pipers and drummers. Common pipe bands are Scottish or Irish with long-standing Celtic roots or within British Commonwealth nations. Competitions for the best pipe bands take place all over the UK. One of the newer competitions, the Edinburgh Pipe Band Championship, took place in place in Edinburgh, Scotland in August 2014. Documentary photographer Gregor Schmatz moved to Edinburgh a few short years ago and wanted to know more about this annual event. “I do like traditional music, and I didn’t know what to expect,” Schmatz told PDN via email. Forty-five bands competed, placed by organizers into categories based on experience: novice, grade 4 juvenile, grade 3, grade 2 and grade 1 (the highest level) with a prize worth roughly $1,000.
Schmatz shot these images with the Mamiya 7 using Kodak Portra ISO 400 film, a film traditionally used for portraits with it’s careful color-balance for skin tones. The film, along with Schmatz’s minimal color adjustments, keeps the various images a cohesive and uniformed look. “I didn’t even have enough film with me as I wanted to in the end.”