In a particularly troubled time of depression, photography was one of the tools Tara Wray coped with.
"Forcing myself to come out of my head and use the camera is a kind of therapeutic tool," says Wray, a Vermont-based photographer and filmmaker. "It's like an exercise: you do not want to do it, you have to do it yourself, and you feel better afterwards."
In July, she published the book "Too Tired for Sunshine," taken between 2011 and 2018, a photo of her photographs from that time. Some of the pictures show a clear beauty, others a raw loneliness and some hints that the world may be a bit absurd.
Wray says she clearly considers herself to be the light, the honesty of dogs and "things that are humorous and may not be trying to be." These images helped to bring her to life.
A camera works as "a kind of shelter, a buffer that gives me a reason to be somewhere," she says. "It helps me navigate through an environment with a specific destination when I feel out of place."
And like photography, photography offers a kind of liberation. "When I take a picture that I think is a good picture, I can feel it, and everything else will temporarily go away."
Through creative expression, Wray says she can focus her "ruminating" or "possessed" on "something bigger"
"There were moments when I felt lonely and isolated in a dark place, and I wondered if I would see the other side of it, "she says." Photography has given me those moments back … I can now see them in a different light.
At the same time, Wray emphasizes that photography is not her tool .
"You have to have a whole arsenal of things to cope with mental illness, and I try to do everything "To stay healthy," she says, adding that she knows she's lucky enough to have a supportive family and access therapy, medications, and good doctors.
Wray is a self-described introverted and private person. For her, photography was one thing, but the decision to publish a book about her experiences with mental illness was different.
"I ask that all the time," she says. But their belief in the importance of "These are the things that you would not necessarily talk about when picking up at school with other parents, but here I put it all out," says Wray. "I am I used my own kind of shame and fear to share this with others, to encourage others to say, 'It's alright to do it.' … There's nothing to be ashamed of . "
" Act of sharing a photo – to be seen and understood by others – that is probably more than I want to admit, "she says.
This connection went in both directions. The people who saw the book turned to Wray to share their excitement and their own photography. She had hit a chord.
"People would say, 'I do work similar' or 'The camera is something I use as a tool' or 'Would you take a look? "in this series that I did when I went through this?" Wray says.
One month after her book was published, Wray invited others to share her photography.
She launched an Instagram account @TooTiredProject "to help people who struggle with depression by offering a place for collective creative expression," and asked people to tag their images with #TooTiredProject.
A selection of Tara Wray's curated proposals for the Too Tired project are included here.