Xavier Portela with GLOW selected by XPOSURE in Sharjah!

Updated: Jun 17, 2020

Xavier Portela, a Belgo-Portugese photographer is selected by the international Photo Festival XPOSURE in Sharjah to exhibit his dazzling series of GLOW. Just WOW!


Xavier Portela is a Belgo-Portuguese self-taught photographer and filmmaker currently based in Brussels, Belgium. The story of Xavier is a bit more complex. He didn’t start his career as a photographer, not even close, actually he wasn’t really looking to become a photographer until a few years ago. He studied multimedia and web development in Belgium.

Xavier started working as web developer for agencies right after school. During that time photography was just a hobby, a passion he was doing on the side. It’s only in 2012 that he left his daily job to devote all his time to photography and filmmaking. It was a wake up call. In 2016, Xavier gained visibility after publishing GLOW, featuring Tokyo and Hong Kong at night, followed by his first exhibition in Brussels. In 2017, he extended the original GLOW series to Bangkok and it was selected by Lonely Planet in the “11 unique photographic views of the world from 2017”. These series have reached more than 30 countries and were published in various photography, design & architecture magazines.


Initially GLOW was a collection that Xavier has created with the ambition to get back the atmosphere and feelings you get when you visit big cities like Tokyo, Bangkok and New York. Xavier explains: “In 2014, I was on vacation with no real goal than just discovering Japan. Tokyo is the first city I visited, thanks to the jetlag I was up all night, so I started walking in the street and taking pictures. When I got back, I started postprocessing the pictures but I was not happy with the result because I couldn’t reproduce that feeling you get when are in the middle of the street, of the chaos, with all those people around you, the noise, the electricity and the lights around you, this overwhelming atmosphere wasn’t there. It’s only 2 years later while I was watching a japanese anime, that I remembered some comics/manga from Zhang Bin aka Benjamin who is a Chinese manhua artist and illustrator. That’s when I started to play with the colors, I wanted my shots to look like as if they came straight out of a manga. Vibrant and electric.”


Portela’s series GLOW is an ongoing personal project of urban images from his trips to Tokyo, Hong Kong, Bangkok, New York City, and more. Each photograph is edited with a wash of neon-inspired pink, blue and purple lights to generate the real feelings and emotions one discovers exploring a vibrant city. Although previous series have included photography taken on the street, more recently he has begun to produce aerial views of the dazzling city nightlife. To further explore the vibrancy and atmosphere Portela began to manipulate the colours in his images, amplifying their saturation to make each reflect what the brain remembered from the visits. Clarity, glowing lights, vibrancy and core citylife emotions.


Xavier attaches great importance to quality. Brightness, strong colors and razor-sharp details are some of the key elements he is looking for in his work. That's why the link with ChromaLuxe was easily made. Xavier chooses to exhibit his work printed through dye sublimation on large format aluminium panels in white gloss finish. Because the aluminium panels have a fantastic appearance, there is no need for additional framing. The panels have a 3D depth and delivers an exceptional detail and colour resolution on the work displayed. It’s almost like you are looking at a high definition screen. These aspects make it extra special and makes the images stand out from the crowd at a multi-artist exhibition.


REAL:TIME makes prints stand out with an innovative approach and customized solutions. Headquartered in Dubai Production City (IMPZ), UAE, with branches in Australia and Africa, REAL:TIME offers effective branding solutions. They printed all the ChromaLuxe panels for the exhibition from Xavier Portela at Xposure. Through dye-sublimation, the images are infused into specially coated surfaces to provide the most durable, longest lasting print medium on the market today. The ink is applied in the coated surface by sublimation. This coating layer makes the difference. The coating layer provides sharpness, gloss and depth effect.


Xavier Portela was selected for XPOSURE, in partnership with the Belgian located brand ChromaLuxe. XPOSURE took place in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates from 19-22 september 2019.

XPOSURE is the largest and most significant annual photography and imaging show in the MENA region, attended by professional photographers, filmmakers, photography enthusiasts, students and educators from around the world. XPOSURE hosts solo exhibition spaces from acclaimed photographers including Xavier Portela along with group exhibitions for professional institutions. By having the photographers present during the festival, attendees, collectors and buyers get a unique opportunity, not only to see the art but also meet and talk to the photographers.

#chromaluxe #xposure #xavierportela #portela #glowseries #glow #hdmetal

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