Photographer recreates Life magazine photos looking at Mormon towns

Standing in cool water, Mark Hedengren snaps away as his photographic subject lounges in a Washington County reservoir. The temperature is a sweltering 102 degrees and Hedengren's shorts, plus his camera bag, are wet.

It's a hazard of the shoot for this Provo-based photographer as he updates a snapshot or two from Mormon history.

Hedengren is reshooting a controversial Life magazine photo essay originally compiled by world-famous photographers Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange. The September 1954 article, "Three Mormon Towns," sparked complaints from Mormons to the widely read magazine over some depictions of rural Utah life.

A 29-year-old professional photographer, Hedengren isn't looking to get all wet, just bring a fresh eye to the story, as he revisits Toquerville, Gunlock and St. George.

"I love southern Utah, Mormonism, photography and the work of those two photographers," the Brigham Young University graduate says. "The question became: Why wouldn't I do it?"

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