Art is a powerful medium; one that allows us to express the creativity, emotion and passion inside us. As artists, we are fortunate to have this outlet that we can both use to help others and ourselves. Through music, painting, writing, photography and more, the forms of expression are boundless. Many of us here on this platform create art using a camera and many of us have used this as a tool to help us when we are unable to express life’s burdens with words.

Eight years ago, as I was battling some of the lemons life had thrown at me, I started my photography business. Pouring out my heart and emotion into making images while my heart was bleeding was the best medicine for me. Photography was a balm to my soul. Many of you may have a similar story.

This article was originally written in 2016 and updated in 2022.

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Luis Pons, a photographer in New York City, also shares a similar experience with photography. Five years ago, Luis became very sick and the illness sent him into a cycle of depression and anxiety of which he was unable to escape. Feeling isolated and disconnected, a friend suggested that Luis pick up a camera and get his mind off of his ailment. Using street photography as a means to express his disillusionment, he began to gain knowledge and skill, but also, he began to slowly heal mentally. As his mindset transitioned, so did his desire to photograph subjects that reflected life, dynamic energy, and expression.

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Luis found what he was looking for in ballet photography. Taking ballerinas into the urban landscape of his city, Luis strives to capture the “beauty of dance outdoors and also say something deeply about [himself]” in each image. Luis now photographs some of the most renowned ballet dancers in New York City, their powerful and lithe bodies in a serenely graceful pose is a testament to the place where Luis is currently in his life. Having found peace in creating, Luis says,

“It sounds selfish, but I came to photography to heal myself and express what I couldn’t say in words. The sublime understanding that all things beautiful are temporal. Sadness leads to happiness, regret to forgiveness, knowledge to wisdom and pain to revelation. I photograph to capture these very real human conditions and explore how to resolve them in my heart.”

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You can see more of Luis Pons’ work on his website and on Instagram.

CREDITS: Photographs by Luis Pons are copyrighted and have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.