Viewfinder: Tara Wray

[imgbelt img=cat99.png]Filmmaker-turned- photographer Tara Wray lives in rural Vermont, where she’s known as a “flatlander” because of her relatively new status as a resident. While her Vermont photos are relatively light-hearted portrayals of daily life, her earliest work delved into her personal relationship with her family in small town Kansas.


deeply personal documentary filmmaking to photos that display affectionate appreciation of life in rural Vermont.  She began her first film, Manhattan, Kansas, in 2005, when she traveled to rural Kansas to reunite with her mother, with whom she’d had a close but difficult relationship in her childhood.  Since making the film, Wray has moved to Barnard, Vermont (population 1,000), and shifted away from filmmaking toward photography, taking pictures of daily life in her adopted hometown.  She just released a self-published collection of photographs called Come Again When You Can’t Stay So Long as a follow-up to her first film.

Daily Yonder: Tell us a little about your background.

Tara Wray: I grew up in Kansas in a town called Manhattan.  I lived there for the first 20 or so years of my life.  Then I started moving around and didn’t really appreciate it until I left. I went abroad for a while, then I moved to Atlanta for a while, then New York City, and now I live in Barnard, Vermont.

DY: What was it like growing up in Manhattan, Kansas?

TW: It was, and still is a college town with lots of small towns around it that I liked to explore when I was younger.  I made a movie in 2006 called Manhattan, Kansas, and part of it was visiting with my mom who lived in a town that didn’t even have a stop light. It was tiny.  Part of the movie was spending time there and exploring the areas around that.  One of my favorite things to do is get lost on back roads in Kansas where there’s absolutely nothing. I think it’s quite beautiful.