Luis Gonzalez Palma grew up in Guatemala City where he later continued to live and opened a portrait studio. He studied architecture and cinematography at the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala and soon after, became interested in photography. Palma is of 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 cultural issues into the mind of the viewer, by incorporating distant gazes and mystical costumes that objectify and explain the pain these people, who are minority in Guatemala, have gone through since before, during and after the intense genocide of their race.
Symbolism is very important in Palma's work: he uses symbols to get his strong ideas across. Along with symbolism, he uses sepia tints in all of his photographs, and leaves the whites of the eyes untinted, in order to intensity the subject's gaze. Critics say this helps bring out the issues that the artist is trying to explain or explore. Palma often collages his photographs, layering on top of his subjects with important words or symbols. He declares that he tries "to portray the soul of a people" in his photographs, and in doing so, has become a prominent modernist Guatemalan photographer.