Xavier Portela Paints Famous Cities with Hypnotic Neon “Glow”

All images by Xavier Portela. Used with Creative Commons permission.

Think your night photography could use some splashes of color? For today’s photography inspiration, we bring you the vibrant cityscapes of Brussels-based Xavier Portela, who sees and bathes cities around the world in neon hues. If vibrant colors and unique takes on photographing cities at night often catch your attention, you will surely enjoy his ongoing project.

Xavier couldn’t have picked better cities to start his aptly titled Glow series with – Tokyo and Hong Kong. In November 2016 he eventually produced his first photography exhibition in collaboration with Inkut Lab, featuring 33 photos from the series. All the photos were printed directly on brushed aluminum plate, giving them an even more eye-catching metallic finish.

He also created a beautiful teaser video showing the preparations for the exhibit opening:

Tokyo and Hong Kong are both known for their vibrant night scenes, and Xavier’s hypnotic treatment made them glow even more! Seeing the store fronts and shop signs – timeless favorites of photographers then and now – lit up in psychedelic colors must have surely been a visual treat for for those who checked out his exhibit.

A year later, the success of Glow saw Xavier deciding to make it an ongoing project, adding more cities in his collection. He proceeded with Bangkok in August 2017, capturing the city’s famous street scenes and night markets. New York City was his most recent stop earlier this year for the project. Apart from snapping away at the famous Times Square and surroundings, he was also able to capture the city from above – aboard a helicopter, to be exact!

It’s hard to choose a favorite from all the cities bathed in Xavier’s neon glow, but I have to say his aerial shots of New York City stand out particularly so far. Not only is it mesmerizing because of the cyan and pink palette throughout the series, but also since it brings us an uncommon view of the Big Apple. On a side note, it also reminds me of mega metropolises from sci-fi movies like Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell.

I’m definitely looking forward to the next city to get this glowing visual treatment. Meanwhile, we can all check out Xavier Portela’s website and Behance portfolio to see more of his Glow series and other projects.