An Announcement…

My dear fellow bloggers and readers, watch this short video and scroll below for some additional words.


This is not a decision I have made lightly. The idea of stopping started creeping in my mind earlier this year.  Initially I thought maybe I just needed another pause from writing to clear my head. To make it feel less like ‘must post something’ to writing purely for the fun of it, which is how this all started here nearly six years ago. I started writing a punk series and stopped a third of the way through. Not because of writers block or lack of inspiration. Instead as more time passed I realized that deep down, I just was not getting the same level of excitement or ‘buzz’ from this that I used to get.

Some of that is down to the shrinking community of bloggers. I made efforts to counter this effect and stay true to the type of writing I wanted to do. To stay true to the type of blog I wanted this to still be. But nothing really seemed to help counter the dwindling readership and scarcity of comments that seemed to be the norm rather than the exception. That isn’t meant to sound like sour grapes. That did bother me in the early days here, but a wise friend told me to just write for myself. Stay true to the ideas and passion I had and good things would surely follow. And they definitely did. Years went by in this way and I was happy sharing a new found creativity that had been hidden away for most of my life.

But beyond the numbers, after almost six years of the same core concept of joining the music that I love together with my own photography I decided it is time for me to explore some new ideas. In the past I padded out the fallow moments of the music themed blog posts with a few stabs at fiction, or a weekly photo feature. But the time feels right now to work on other ideas I have jotted down halfheartedly in my  notebook over the years. Ideas I felt were always secondary to maintaining the blog. And once I had that realization (made on a blissful early morning hike in Ireland a few weeks ago), I knew I had reached the right decision.

Musicians may pour their hearts into recording and touring behind a new album for  years. Photographers may work on a particular subject matter for long periods. Novelists might lock themselves away writing an epic book for months and years on end. At some point after the work has gone out to the world they are presented with a choice-carry on with the status quo, or veer off in a new and challenging direction. That new and challenging direction is where I want to head towards next. I am not sad about this however. In many ways this is a huge relief to have made this decision.

In practical terms, I want to say that I will NOT be deleting this site. For one thing, maybe the time will be right some day to start back up again. Even if that does not happen, it makes no sense to erase the past six years of writing and photography. Also, for some of the new ideas I am working on it might be useful to have the blog in place to utilize.

Additionally, I am NOT deleting any of my social media accounts affiliated with this site. So the Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube sites for Soundtrack Of A Photograph will remain in place. Some of these may transition into the new ideas but it seems unnecessary to delete them outright and start over. Especially because even though the writing about them in this manner may be ending, I can assure you that I always will remain passionate about music and photography. In fact the photography will be playing a much bigger role in my future plans (take that as a sneak peek into my brain!).

Which leaves me at thinking back to the past six years. Thinking back to that first post I nervously posted and thought it might be nice if 100 people read it. Well I surpassed that number many times over, and it is a point of pride to me that folks in some 125 countries have read my little works. Writing this blog has given me some of the truest and dearest friends I have had in my entire life. From California to Canada, India to Ireland, Germany to New Orleans and beyond my life is better because of you all. And to Tasha- the best, best friend I have ever had…blogging introduced us to one another, you made it a friendship that goes far beyond these words on a computer screen.

And to everybody else-all of my family and friends who have supported this endeavor. All of the people who have followed and supported the blog right from the start or who came in at some point a mere thank you is not enough. You read, liked, shared, commented on these words I wrote for years now. You gave me the confidence to continue writing, which I will now use for whatever is ahead.

Finally, a word of thanks to the many musicians who have also liked and shared Soundtrack Of A Photograph. Early on I had a great compliment from one musician. He was blown away that songs he wrote inspired me to write my own words melded with photos to broaden the effect. Art inspiring art. That was a pivotal moment for me. In the years since I have had similar interactions with other musicians. I set out what I wanted to accomplish-to find personal connections to songs through my own photographs. Together this has given me the fuel to keep on going.  Whatever happens next these feelings will always stay with me.

So this is not a forever goodbye, but merely a goodbye to something that has been a pivotal part of me the last six years. I’m going to take the next few months to make ideas into reality. If you are not already,  connect with me on social media to stay in touch.

Thank you again, love you all!


Robert Doyle

P.S…one final photo and song below.

And We’ll Sing-Written By Calum & Rory MacDonald

Photograph By Robert P Doyle

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Somewhere Out There

Somewhere Out There

I thought before this year was officially over I would write one more post. Actually, I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to but something I can’t quite explain pushed me to do so. Way back in January in this post I wrote about the final studio album by Scottish group Runrig. Emotions were swirling around people in my life at that time, and something about the title and theme of the album-The Story seemed like a connection of sorts. I was not really planning on writing about another song from the same album, let alone twice in the same year but something about this project resonated deeply for me. The key to the album is that every song has a story to it.

That by itself is not unique of course, but it is in the way that Runrig have weaved elements on this collection in music together with vintage photographs and detailed stories for each song that does make it unique.   It starts with an account of the visits by American photographers Paul Strand and Neil Priessman to the Hebrides Islands in the 1950’s which provided the main inspiration for the project.  A soldier in ‘Rise And Fall/Elegy’. The downing of the Malaysia Airlines flight over the Ukraine in ’18th July’. Loading the van up with gear to play at a local dance in ‘The Place Where The Rivers Run’ all provided further inspiration. Continue reading “Somewhere Out There”

The Story

Oban, Scotland 1990

“I can’t help feeling it will always be, the story of the life inside of me”

Ever have one of those moments when you hear a new song and know instantly that it will forever have a special meaning for you? When the lyrics and the music conspire to trap you in some sort of emotional cage. But rather than feeling confined in that trap you welcome being there. It may pull at the proverbial heart strings, and cause a chill through your body and a tear to the eye. But you want those things. You need them to fill some emotional void. Maybe that song comes along exactly at a time you are feeling especially vulnerable and you latch on to it like a literal life preserver, clinging to it to help you through those times. Well all of those things happened to me the other day. And now just 3 days after hearing it, that song has become like a new best friend. Continue reading “The Story”

Photo Shuffle-Edge Of The World

I pressed ‘Play’ on my Ipod and this is what I heard….

“Edge Of The World” By Runrig

“The adrenaline infrastructure bringing on it’s troubles some more”

Today’s shuffle choice is a particularly good one for me. One of my favorite songs, by one of my favorite bands, Runrig. I briefly wrote about them as part of the My Four Seasons series but I have been eager to return to their music here. The basics are that they come from Scotland and have been a band for over 40 years now. Their music is deeply influenced by both the landscape of Scotland and its language. Runrig were certainly among the first bands to write new songs in the Scottish Gaelic language. Edge Of The World is obviously not one of them, but I hope you do some exploring of more songs yourself.

I have been to Scotland only once and the photographs I took at that time were more of the vacation type so the photo here represents the song rather than Scotland itself. The edge of the world has always been an interesting concept to me. Of course some people once thought the world was flat and had an ‘edge’ to it. Beyond that, I don’t think there has been anyone who hasn’t  looked out on the ocean and thought they were on the edge of the world. Staring at the horizon and feeling exposed to the elements, knowing there is mostly an emptiness beyond much like in the words to this song. I say mostly because the reality is that though the view might be of the vast ocean beyond, we know there is always another side, and someone else perhaps thinking similar thoughts on the other side.

I have been thinking of this idea in the last month especially due to the refugee crisis in Europe. Complex issues but I think of those refugees heading out, looking out at the edge of the world themselves as a way of escape. Hoping to step away from the precipice that others are pushing them towards. Then getting pushed back again  by people that don’t really want them there. It makes me feel that as a society if we keep pushing one another to the edge pretty soon there won’t be one left to stand on. What do we do then?

Edge Of The World-Written By Calum and Rory MacDonald

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All Photographs By Robert P. Doyle

*Photo Shuffle is a new, very short slice of my regular blogs based on setting my Ipod on shuffle and matching up one of my photographs to whatever comes up.

My Four Seasons-Spring


“A spark of life on a wire from heaven”

I was not going to mention this. Really I wasn’t…but I am convinced that failure to mention it will be met with stern looks and raised eyebrows in my direction.  I do not think any discussion of the four seasons within a context of music could go by without at least a passing reference to Antonio Vivaldi’s magnificent ‘The Four Seasons.” It is perhaps one of the most approachable pieces of classical music for people who may not normally profess to like that type of music. I think that is because people recognize what he was trying to do with the piece in making a musical portrait of the seasons of the year. You can feel the buzzing insects and impending storm in ‘summer’, the icy rain of ‘winter’, but mostly you can feel the invigoration of spring within the first few glorious notes of the composition.

It is the perfect example of music that makes you feel glad to be alive, much like that first day of spring when you can shed the winter coat, head outside to smell nature all around you and take in the vibrant colors after the dullness of a long winter. Because of all of that nature springing to life seemingly overnight-tree buds waking up, tulip, daffodil and hyacinth bulbs popping out from the ground, birds returning and singing their own songs it feels like a beginning all over again.  In a way I think of it much like birth itself.

I suppose that is because it seems to bring so much happiness back into our lives when spring begins. Which is what the birth of a child brings to people similarly. Not having children I have to rely on friends and family who have had them to understand that incredible moment. Often I hear words or phrases like miracle, transforming, inspirational, and connection to describe that special time after a child is born,  but most importantly of all what I hear is love. Time seems to freeze, and whatever pressures and concerns existed the day before seem to vanish once a new life enters the world. That is what the idea behind Runrig’s song News From Heaven is all about-

“Ideologies come, ideologies go,

A waste of words, and endless flow,

But now you’re here I feel no fear,

I can’t believe the news from heaven”

 When I began assembling this series of blogs together, this song from their 1989 album Searchlight was one of the first I thought of. One reason was because I had long wanted to do a blog about Runrig, who have been one of my favorite bands for years now. The other reason is that the song is simply quite touching and beautifully written. Then again, that is something Runrig has been doing well for years.  They have been together now since 1973, having formed on the Isle Of Skye in Scotland. Brothers Rory and Calum MacDonald have written the bulk of their material, filled with images of the Scottish landscape and its people. Since the beginning they have also included a few songs on each album written in the Scottish-Gaelic dialect, something precious few people ( be they musicians or writers) were doing around the time of their formation. Runrig can certainly claim a big part in the resurgence of that language. Together with the beautiful and expressive singing of Donnie Munro (and since 1997 his replacement Bruce Guthro) on most of the songs, Runrig over time developed a large fan base, especially in Scotland, where they continue to play in front of very large crowds to this day. You can read their official history right here-, and of course there are hundreds of videos of them through the years on YouTube.

There are many things to admire about Runrig. The lyrics are always engaging and thought provoking and the music conveys the emotion and feel of the landscape around them in Scotland. There is a deep sense of connection to their culture and their language which I feel are critical to our identity. Some people may eschew these things, but I have always felt it to be important. News From Heaven however comes from a different place. It comes from a place of maturity and sensitivity. It reminds me of those first days of spring that arrive after a long cold winter. Of tender new shoots on trees and plants forming. Of innocence and the promise of the growth to follow in the coming years. Of happiness and a life where there was none only the day before. Of living and breathing joy.


Continue reading “My Four Seasons-Spring”