You may have heard of storm chasers, but have you heard of temple chasers? A group of four LDS photographers got together to spread the word about the Meridian Idaho Temple Open House, which will receive guests October 21–November 11.
Photo by Alam Fullmer
AJ Buruca from Boston, Massachusetts; Alan Fullmer from Cedar Hills, Utah; Karyann Hoopes from Queen Creek, Arizona; and Rory Wallwork from Clinton, Utah, are part of a larger group of photographers who have formed a friendship and meet to photograph and appreciate temples. Karyann says they wanted to take pictures before the open house tents are set up so people would feel inspired and encouraged to bring their friends and neighbors.
But Meridian isn’t their first photo shoot—they’ve photographed temples all across the country. Alan has even photographed every temple in the United States. And so what started off as a large Facebook group, turned into a tight-knit mentoring group.
“We all mentor each other and lift each other up. We are here for moral support. We are each others competition, but we help each other. When one of us is down, there are 19 others to lift that one up,” AJ says.
The group started just last year but grew to include 20 artists. But despite that, the group remains unified in their love for temples and Christ.
“Considering that we are photographing the House of the Lord, I don’t let any negativity get in my way. [There's] some competition, but it is a healthy. ... I understand that not everyone will like my work, but that is what makes us all unique. We all cater to different audiences. Since we are shooting the House of the Lord, we have that constant reminder as to why we are doing this, so that helps us keep in check,” AJ says.
Although the group has photographed many temples, they don’t show any sign of slowing down. Their next project is the Washington D.C. Temple and possibly another temple in the Arizona area.
“It's amazing to see the strength of the testimonies of others and to see their reasons for doing what they do. For many, it's out of a love for Christ and our Heavenly Father and out of a desire to share these messages with others. It's a way to share the gospel,” Rory says.
“It’s remarkable to be with people who share your values, hobby, and love for the Savior. Being able to share my experiences as I feel the Spirit is what I feel we are asked to do. If I can have a little part in strengthening others testimony’s, then I am doing the Lords work,” Karyann adds.