Images by Tyler Williams
Images by Tyler Williams
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SueƱo Americano

Stories through photographs: Lexi Parra

Por Elisvanell Celis
March 2024
Lexi Parra is a Venezuelan-American photographer and journalist who graduated from Bard College in 2018 with a degree in Photography and Human Rights. Lexi was born and grew up in Minneapolis. When she was looking at schools, the flexibility of Bard´s curriculum appealed to her. 
Her passion for photography comes from her father, a commercial director of photography. When she learned about the prestigious reputation of the photography program at Bard, she decided it was for her. Her desire to connect with people and her strong curiosity inspire her to tell stories through her photography. Lexi made many friends, met many teachers and mentors, and had many experiences at Bard that helped her to become the person she is today.

After graduating, Parra wanted to reconnect with her Venezuelan roots so she decided to go to her father's homeland. Thanks to the Davis Peace Prize, which granted her $10,000 for her three-month-long project, she was able to teach workshops in Tiuna el Fuerte Cultural Park in Caracas. She says of her trip: ¨I went to Caracas with two bags full of old digital cameras and an idea.¨ She didn't expect to arrive during one of the worst years of the crisis in Venezuela. Yet the situation made her even more certain of her plan to give cameras to the people living amid the crisis so that it could be seen through their eyes. After a year of traveling throughout the country, teaching children and adults, Lexi made her project official: MiRa (¨Look¨ in English) (

Lexi recalls that during her first year and a half of living in Caracas, she could only teach her classes and take everything in---it was her first time living in Venezuela and in the middle of the crisis at that. The experience of living in Venezuela during the crisis gave her a profound sense of responsibility to cover the lived experiences of communities that are on the edge of collapse and to focus on the strength and resilience of people's ability to believe in something. ¨It was the best way for me to learn how to make something from absolutely nothing and it is something that I learned watching other young cultural creators in Venezuela during this moment.¨

Inspired by other young artists, she began to teach workshops in parking lots and basketball courts since at that point there wasn't a formal structure for what she was doing. With her project MiRa, Lexi gave workshops in informal community spaces and the neighborhoods of Caracas. She focused on representation, narration, and visual literacy. 

At the moment, Parra lives between Caracas and New York, and in the five years she has been living in Venezuela since she graduated from Bard College, with her MiRa project she has taught more than 600 young people, she has exhibited her work both in Caracas and in New York and has worked with The New York Times, The Washington Post and NPR.

Lexi says her work becomes more challenging when she feels like she can't help, but she still tries to tell the different stories that she hears and sees through her job as a photojournalist and (documentary photographer) photographer of professional documentaries. Thanks to the experiences that she has lived, her connection with Venezuela has translated into its intimacy with the migration stories, and with her photos she samples the resilience and strength of the people.

* Translated from Spanish by Waleska Brito and Miriam Schwarz

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La Voz, Cultura y noticias hispanas del Valle de Hudson



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