Q&A: Submarine Photographer Philip Medbery

If you’re ever been stationed in Groton, Connecticut, you may have seen him. A tall man with a bushy, white mustache snapping photos at Eastern Point Beach or pierside at Homecoming. Rain or shine, he is invested in getting that great shot and sharing his work free-of-charge to the submarine community.

As a local photographer, Philip Medbery is a humble, loving fixture in the New London community. We recently sat down with him to learn more about the man behind the lens. Thanks for taking the time, Philip!

Q: Where are you from?

I grew up in East Lyme, CT. I currently live in the greater Groton area.

Q: What was your previous and current careers?

For 19 years I was a Foreman of a public utility company. I have also been a Tool and Die maker mainly focusing on military parts for the aviation industry. I am currently a blacksmith at our local historic forge as a hobby. I also do work out at Ledge Light Lighthouse doing maintenance and repairs and serve on the board of directors.

Q. Tell us about your photography and what led you to the submarine community.

I am a self-taught photographer who mainly focuses on our local maritime history, lighthouses, sunrises, sunsets and just about anything to do with our area.

I have been photographing the submarine community for about 8 years. It started as a whim not knowing if it was even proper to photograph submarines from the shore. Those first photos led to other opportunities where I was invited to try my hand at Homecomings with another photographer and submarine spouse. I used to shy away from photos of people, so this was quite the change of pace for me. From there things seemed to grow rapidly for my submarine photography.

I decided to turn my photography Facebook page more Navy-oriented and made private to provide a safe place for the families and crews to view the photos and save them.

Q. What is your favorite part of photographing submarines?

My favorite part is the community and family atmosphere. The friends I’ve made throughout my 8 years of doing these types of photos.

Q. Do you have any favorite memories or moments to capture?  

I would say the “big ole wav” is always a favorite to catch , but photographing the pilot’s 4000th sortie which was with the USS PROVIDENCE was a very special day. I have ridden up top of a submarine once which will always be one of my favorite memories. 

Q. Any favorite Homecoming moments?

All homecomings are very special to me, there’s too many favorite moments to pick one. I did photo an engagement on the pier and a few newborns meeting their father for the first time. I get choked up quite often during homecomings.

Q. Where else might we find you, other than behind the camera?

As for other places you may find me, you will often find me out at the New London Ledge Lighthouse doing maintenance and repairs, and guiding tours. I have been on the board of directors of the Ledge Light Foundation for the past 12 years.

 I am a blacksmith at the shop located in Waterford, CT on the Historic Jordan Green. I take plenty of landscape and maritime photos in the New London, Groton and Waterford areas and frequently exhibit my work at various events.

Q. Any additional words you’d like to share with the submarine community?

  As for words I would say I am very honored to be able to take the photos and have the interactions I do with the submarine community.  

The families and crews are some of the most amazing people I have ever met. All the photos I take at homecomings and various movements I provide to the crews and families at no cost as my way of saying thank you for all they do.   

Leave a Reply