Peter Matcham: Photographing Bermuda's Iconic Longtail

by BermudaYP 3rd August 2021

Longtail by Peter Matcham
Bermuda Longtail © Peter Matcham

The icon of Bermuda’s skies and harbinger of spring, the Longtail, or White-tailed Tropicbird, is our choice for feature on the cover of the 2021/22 Bermuda Telephone Directory. Set against one of its most common and iconic settings - majestically in flight over the pink sand and turquoise shores of our beautiful island home.


The cover photo was captured by Bermudian Peter Matcham, a talented illustrator, designer, photographer and creative director, with over thirty years of experience providing creative services to many of Bermuda’s leading local and international businesses.


We sat down with Peter to ask him a few questions about his work and what inspires him.






Peter Matcham Headshot
Peter Matcham

Why the Bermuda Longtail?


A Longtail on the cover is always going to be popular with Bermudians and visitors. They are so much a part of our culture. When you see them you know spring has really arrived. All summer long they virtually swarm the south shore in some areas and can be seen in majestic flight island wide.


This image is kind of nice because we get to see more of its environment, as we often see them, swooping down over a beach or cliff face. Especially if you get near their nest. They will dive bomb you and let you know they are not amused.It's incredible to photograph them as they are trying to stop their forward motion, applying full brakes as they prepare to dive into the hole that is their nest opening. Their wings go into a crazy backwards fan like circular motion before going into a full tuck and diving in. Makes for some very unbecoming and sometimes hilarious shots. Not ones they would want me to share.

Can you give us a brief background about yourself?


I was born in Bermuda and attended Warwick Academy and Saltus and then studied graphic design and illustration at the art institute of Boston. Upon returning to Bermuda I started the Graphic Design and Advertising agency, Matcham & Matcham with my wife and worked as its creative director and lead designer and photographer for over thirty years, providing creative services to many of Bermuda’s leading local and international businesses. Along the way, I also managed to help produce two immensely talented and creative children, somehow.



Flatt's Calm Sunrise by Peter Matcham
Flatt's Calm Sunrise © Peter Matcham


What’s currently occupying your time?


Mostly I'm trying to stay positive in these crazy circumstances and looking forward to, hopefully, a reasonably rapid return to something resembling normal. I've been fortunate to have been kept pretty busy helping Marico Thomas out with a wide range of photographic and design projects for a host of new brands he's developing over the last year so that's been a lot of fun and helped pay the rent.


I'm just finishing work on creating a new brand for myself, to promote my photographic and design services: I think you'll like it, and what I might be able to do for you. Visit the site. Too much to explain here. It was a lot of work. Thanks


I've been taking quite a lot of pictures too. I try to photograph something every day. At least one thing. But usually about a thousand. Lol! Sometimes it feels like it. I probably trash about ninety five percent of them. And I'm shooting quite a lot of video and having fun exploring that. Slow motion and time-lapse are especially incredible when done right. (getting there :) I finally got a real phone, and on Instagram about a year ago (yes, I know, Shut Up!) and It's been really so nice to be able to share our island, or at least my take on it, with anyone and everyone. So follow me already. You won't be disappointed.


And playing piano. Lots of Piano. Mostly scales. Lots of scales. But, I have to say, it is quite an amazing feeling when you can play something so well that you can't even believe your own hands are doing it. I seriously look at them sometimes and am like how the...? I mean it's not brilliant or anything but my neighbor is finding it less annoying so, I have a Fan! Lol. Anyway, if you thought you couldn't play the piano, you probably can.



Peter Matcham Bermuda Photos
"Bermuda Cedar Front Door" and "St. Georges Pink Wall " © Peter Matcham


What are some of your favourite local places?


All of them. Really, I'm happy pretty much anywhere you drop me on this island. There is always someone, or something, interesting and or beautiful within a stone's throw. In any direction. I am partial to St. George's at the moment however because I've been living down here for a few years now and gotten to know it better and it's just nicer than the rest of the island. (Trolling Somerset especially)






Purchase prints and discover more of Peter’s work at (coming soon) and  follow him on Instagram to discover what he is working on next. Read about all the new features in the 2021/22 Bermdua Telephone Directory, or let us know what you think of Peter's work in the comments below.



Posted by Yabsta
3rd August 2021 3:55 pm.
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