Q&A: Tara Wray


Have you recently been living by any life philosophy? Patience is key. What will baffle future generations about our day and age? The President of the United States of America. Are you aware of any conspiracies? The President of the United States of America. What is it that interests you about photography? It keeps my hands and mind busy. I like the immediacy of it. It gives me permission to stare. What is the worst thing about city life? Lack of personal space and wide open space. What part of the planet would you like to explore? Sichuan China, for the food and the giant pandas. What do you think is the most plausible of the supernatural? Ghosts. If you had to align yourself with a leader in history, who would it be? Obama. Pick a field of science to be an expert within. Animal behavior. What moment have you most wished you’d had a camera when you hadn’t? The birth of my sons. Choose a job you would be willing to do for free on the side. Restaurant critic. Describe the most important photo you’ve seen. Elliott Erwitt’s New York City, 1974 (Dog Legs). The picture of the little dog in the coat and hat with the Great Dane legs and the woman in tall boots. It reminds me that photography can be fun. How often do you take other people’s advice? Depends on who’s offering the advice. I listen closely to my family and friends. Describe a personal hell. Being buried alive. Which living person do you most admire? Laughter is very important to me, so I’d say Tina Fey.

On what occasion do you lie? When I’m tired and my kids ask questions about death. What was the last crime you witnessed? I saw a guy steal a pack of cigarettes at a gas station about fifteen years ago. He saw me catch him and he put his finger over his mouth to shush me. What is the best way to educate yourself? By doing the thing you’re interested in. What is the next book you want to read? Why Look at Animals? by John Berger. Ultimate camera? The one I have with me. Or a Pentax 645Z. Most used camera? Sony Nex-7. What object do you want? Old Leica lenses. I dream of finding a bag of them at a garage sale one day. What object do you need? Food. How would you explain the internet to someone from the 1950’s? You look at a screen and all the information (and mis-information) from all of eternity is available at your fingertips. Be careful how you use it; you will likely become addicted. Are you satisfied with your level of physical strength? Yes. Describe a cheap thrill. Thrift store shopping. Pick an historic moment from the last hundred years to bring a camera to. Amelia Earhart’s desert island experience. Are impulses more important than consequences? Not at this stage of my life. Which talent would you most like to have? I wish I could draw. What is your plan for the next 24 hours? Eat good food, be patient.

Tara Wray is a photographer and filmmaker based in rural Vermont. She is the author of Come Again When You Can’t Stay So Long, a photobook follow up to her 2006 documentary film Manhattan, Kansas, and the forthcoming photobook Too Tired for Sunshine, to be published in 2017. Born and raised in Kansas, she studied documentary filmmaking at NYU.

She curates interviews with photographers at Huffington Post and BUST Magazine and is photo editor at Hobart.

Follow her on Instagram.