While the group’s membership stands at 664 and rising, it started with two like-minded Facebook friends. Philip Medberry and Seth Bendfelt didn’t know each other personally, but had lived in the same house in Niantic, 20 years apart. They became familiar with each other’s work online and began chatting about forming their own page, solely devoted to local photography. Their goal from the start was to create and foster a family environment, where people would feel welcomed and encouraged. Membership is open to anyone who has some connection to—or love for—the area.
The group’s purpose is clearly outlined in a mission statement on the page, and so far, Medbery said, members have been overwhelmingly respectful. “We’ve had very few problems,” Medbery said. “And we get a lot of great photos because we’re versatile,” Bendfeldt said. “People say it’s like a scrapbook.”
The group draws members from every level of ability and every walk of life. Bendfeldt, a 50-year photography veteran, has held nearly every job imaginable in his field, from stringing for The Day to taking yearbook photos, family portraits, to documenting fires and accidents for Montville police and fire. He is a fixture at public happenings, and his reputation and friendly disposition have earned him welcome at a wide spectrum of high-profile events, including President Obama’s address at the Coast Guard Academy graduation in May.
Medbery, a municipal employee, also leads tours of New London’s Ledge Lighthouse. An early riser by nature, about