Luis González Palma

2006

Luis González Palma was born in Guatemala in 1957. The artist grew up in Guatemala City where he later continued to live and opened up a portrait studio. He studied architecture and cinematography at the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala and then turned to photography. He has presented his work since 1989-present in more than 58 expositions in America and Europe.

He is of mixed or “mestizo” background, and his photography focuses on the plight of the indigenous Mayas and the mestizo people of Guatemala. His photographs are often meant to bring psychological and culture issues into the viewers mind, by incorporating distant gazes and mystical costumes that objectify and explain the pain these people, who are a minority in Guatemala, have gone through since before, during and after the intense genocide of their race.

Symbolism is very important in González Palma’s work: he uses symbols to get his strong ideas across. Along with symbolism González Palma uses sepia tints in all of his photographs, and tends to leave the whites of the eyes not tinted, in order to intensify the subject’s gaze. Critics say this helps bring out the issues that the artist is trying to explain or explore. Another strong part of his photography is that he tends to collage his photographs, layering on top of his subjects with important words or symbols.

González Palma declares that he tries "to portray the soul of a people" in his photographs, but others disagree with him, and claim that he exploits his subjects. It all comes down to the opinion of the viewer 
in the end.