Ryan Parra Photography

Barefoot & The Walking Tree, 2019

While doing research in Costa Rica I came across a tree known as the walking tree. Locals gave it this name because the tree can actually use its stilt-like legs to move towards sunlight. My initial reaction was to create a video performance of myself walking around the tree barefoot in order to highlight this unique characteristic. This barefoot element was especially important since I had been working in the dangerous jungle for a number of weeks, having to constantly think about deadly animals and plants with every step I took. I would also think about how extreme it must have been thousands of years ago to live and survive in a place like this, without the luxury of the protective gear I was wearing. This video brings these thoughts together in a ritualistic performance exploring my distant connection to nature.

Ryan Parra Photography © All rights reserved 2024

Manifesto Perfected, 2014

­A critique of the institutionalization of art through a synthesis of Marina Abramovic's "An Artist's Life Manifesto"

Magnificent Palms, 2017

This video was created in collaboration with the writer Jared Duran. The first part of the collaboration consisted of Jared doing a studio visit with me to learn about my art process. The next part of the collaboration was for him to write a response to my work. He wrote a poem based on a dream he had about David Lynch as a shamanic figure guiding him through endless rows of palm trees in Phoenix, AZ. Towards the end of this dream, David Lynch helps Jared come to the realization that the palm trees are planted only for their aesthetic appeal, contributing to the superficial ideal of the American Dream and “paradise.” After this realization, the dream ends with David Lynch showing Jared that he and everyone else around him in the city are very similar to these palm trees. This video explores these metaphors of the “palm tree,” along with its symbolism in Western culture.

Observations of Manduca Sexta Chrysalis, 2016

Early one morning in my garden, I noticed this chrysalis hanging from one of my flowering datura plants. After I rushed to bring the specimen in the studio to be photographed, it soon began to wriggle and move in a very curious fashion.

Observations of Hyles Lineata, 2015

­The intersection of science and nature can often be a progressive one, guiding humankind towards a more positive future. However, at other times it can often be ambiguous and dark. This video explores these two sides of good and evil, while also critiquing methods of scientific observation used to understand the natural world.