Robert Heddle Robertson was born at Grutha, South Ronaldsay in 1872 and moved to Stromness in the late 1890s. Stromness was a bustling port at that time due to the herring fishing industry and Robert opened two Grocery shops, one in Alfred Street and the other in Victoria Street. His photography was carried out mostly as an enthusiastic amateur though he did sell postcards and photographic equipment in his shops. He lived and worked in Stromness for fourteen years, continuing to photograph events around Stromness and the West Mainland. The herring industry gradually declined and Robert and his family left Stromness and moved to Westray where he became manager of the Co-operative store in Pierowall.
He continued to take photographs after moving to Westray and the island is fortunate to have such an excellent photographic record of the life and people of that time. R.H. Robertson continued to take photographs for many years, living to the grand old age of ninety. He died in 1962. The Photographic Archive has over 2500 of his original glass plate negatives in the collection.