Charlottetown Airport | | Rachel Peters
Connecting Islandersto the World.

Rachel Peters

Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I wanted to be a photographer. I would line up teddy bears and toys and take their photos with an old film camera my mother gave me. When I got a bit older I had my own darkroom to process the film and it has always blown me away how magical it is to see a photograph develop. I think it’s the magic of capturing images of people and places in a moment, then seeing those moments come to life in the photographs I take that makes me feel so lucky to do what I do.

Over 10 years ago, I was coming home to Charlottetown after teaching English for a year in Abu Dhabi, UAE. I chatted with a nice man on the plane about where I had been and how excited I was to go home and settle down after getting the "travel bug” out of my system. He laughed! He said he saw my eyes light up when I spoke of my adventures and that I would never stop travelling. He said he would bet money that if he were to run into me again in 20 years that I would still be roaming the globe. Well, it’s been over 10 years and I am happy to say he was totally right!

Photographing weddings is what I love. I can totally see myself being friends with every one of my subjects. By the time I arrive to shoot their special day, I have some time getting to know each of them. Now with social media, opportunities to travel for shoots present themselves all over the world. I think it is so amazing that I can work at what I love right here in PEI and travel around the globe, too!

But doing what I do doesn’t ever quench my thirst for travel. It just makes me need to see more, go further and find even more amazing adventures. The worse my travel addiction gets, the more compelled I am to capture love in new and exciting places. It is the most magical thing in the world. If I can carry on travelling to photograph people I will do it forever.

My last trip had me on a shoot in Stockton Beach, Australia. It’s the largest natural desert in the Southern Hemisphere. Photographers come here from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to recreate the desert conditions of the Middle East because Stockton Beach is so much more accessible – they will even hire camels to get the right look. We travelled there and brought in camels for an after-wedding photo shoot with a bride and groom. It was a real bucket-list experience for me.

While in Australia, I worked with another photographer to shoot a full wedding. We had the chance to scout some gorgeous locations before spending two full days taking photos of the couple. The bride is from Toronto and the groom is Australian. The whole group was so welcoming. I felt like I had made life long connection with these families. That’s my favourite part of wedding photography – getting to engage with my clients and getting to know them. It’s that relationship I build that breaks down their nervousness in being photographed. I know that feeling because I hate having my photo taken! By making a genuine connection before I see people through my lens I’m able to achieve a look that is light, airy and real. Most times they feel totally at ease and that can really show in the photos.

On this last adventure, after Australia I moved onto New Zealand. The scenery in New Zealand is out of this world! I could have taken a photo every 10 seconds and I still don’t think that I could have done the place justice. It was another bucket-list country, for sure. I am so glad I got to see it for myself. But it’s the people who make it awesome. We like to think Canadians are easygoing and friendly but I have never seen anything like the people in New Zealand. They spoke to me like we had known each other our whole lives, as though we might have met on a bus in my hometown.

I’m from North Rustico, which is a small town on the North Shore of PEI. I love it there. It has such a strong sense of community. My family and friends are so important to me and growing up there has given me a warm, kind and generous foundation. It’s made it possible for me to travel the world and feel at home wherever I am. I guess I’m a sappy romantic! I’m on a lifelong adventure to seek out love all over the world and capture it. That’s the approach I take with the people I photograph. I get to know them and try to understand their joy, what makes them smile. It takes patience, just like travel. It’s not just the best of both worlds – doing what I love in a place I love. The ability to fly right from home means I get to have the best of the whole world.

I love to fly PEI because there is nothing in the world like coming home from an adventure and seeing familiar faces at the Charlottetown Airport.

I feel like if I’m open to it, the world brings me amazing opportunities to meet the most wonderful people. It’s not just the brides and grooms or their families. I meet people in the security line. I meet beautiful souls who work the late shift cleaning the airports. They’re the people who make every minute a pleasure for me. I could sit in the corner of the airport and choose to be bored while I wait on an overnight layover or I could choose to have a conversation with the custodian and learn of his life, his joys and discover the things we have in common. That sense of community keeps me going on long trips home from far away places.

I love to fly PEI because there is nothing in the world like coming home from an adventure and seeing familiar faces at the Charlottetown Airport. I find it so touching to return to this beautiful island. I love to see the faces of folks who have never seen the brilliant green fields and the PEI red mud shores. The beauty blows them away and I get to experience that all over again through their excitement as the plane descends. I’m a fortunate person. It’s a blessing to live on this island and travel the world doing exactly what I love.