New York Glow

Xavier Portela is a Belga-Portuguese photographer who is based in Brussels and works on assignments worldwide. Portela started his career as a multimedia developer working for agencies in Belgium.

In 2012 Xavier left his job to become a full-time freelance photographer and filmmaker undertaking various assignments in both disciplines.

Xavier Portela never set out to become renowned for a specific style of photography. But his original Glow project of super bright images of neon lights in pink and blue hues became very popular, and now he is, producing one series after another, in cities all around the world.

“The initial idea came from frustration after capturing night scenes of Tokyo a few years ago,” explains Xavier. “The photographs were ok, but I couldn’t get that ‘electricity’ feeling that you get when you are on location.

“So I left those pictures there for years. Until one day after watching some Japanese manga, I remembered those shots, and I thought ‘what if I try to mess with the colours and atmosphere of those compositions? Could it help to reproduce the feeling you get when you arrive in those places?’ I wanted those pictures to look as if they came straight out of a manga. That’s how I landed on the idea of processing all the colours to make it more vibrant and powerful.”