As soon as the announcement was made for the Mesa Arizona temple closure and renovation, Karyann Hoopes sent out a message to her friends and fellow photographers. What had started out as a small Facebook group called Temple Talk had now turned into a tight-knit mentoring group. Fellow photographer Alan Fullmer, of Cedar Hills, Utah, formed the group to help others with fine tuning their skills and showcasing each other’s talents. Even though they are often competitors, these photographers say their love for the temples and for the Savior far outweigh any of their monetary gains.
“Within minutes, I was typing, ‘Come down, have dinner, stay at my house and let’s go out and shoot some photos before it closes,’” says Karyann, of the San Tan Ward, Queen Creek South Stake. “So many people wanted the temple to stay the same; there are several generations of history and legacy there at the Mesa Temple. We all knew in some sense that we just had to capture it, the way it was, before it all changed.”
As a result, just prior to the closing of the temple, this photographers group got together for a day to capture images of the historic building and the surrounding grounds. Seven of the group of eighteen were available to gather to share in this activity. The group included Karyann, the organizer, from Queen Creek, Brooks Crandall and Richard Webb, who are both from Mesa, Jason Miller, who is from Chandler, and Jimmy Paderla, who lives in Gilbert. The two out-of-staters were Lance Bertola, from Mr. Pleasant, Utah, and Rory Wallwork, from Clinton, Utah.
“We spent about 2 hours shooting and capturing what we could,” says Karyann, “I knew we were capturing history, because the temple wasn’t going to look the same after the magic of the renovations was finished. I often joke that we are the temple paparazzi, because that is what we look like when we all get together. Many neighbors saw us while we were there and came over to chat and fill us in on the details of changes they thought were going to take place, as well as property changes that had happened in the neighborhood.”
“Nothing had been formally announced at that time,” says Karyann,
“but it turned out all the things they had mentioned were pretty accurate, once the official word came down about the changes being made. We all love the temple, and what a unique experience it was for us to see it and capture it, a few weeks before it was changed forever.”