Lonely Planet Writer

This photo series captures neon-tinged Bangkok like you’ve never seen it before

A photographer has shared a stunning new series of images taken in Bangkok that highlights the unique energy, dynamic night life and charismatic charm of the neon-tinged urban landscape in all of its glory.

Xavier Portelo's glowxpo series captures neon-tinged urban environments at night.
Xavier Portela’s glowxpo series captures neon-tinged urban environments at night. Image by Xavier Portela

Taken by Brussels-based photographer Xavier Portela, the collection is part of an ongoing project called, “Glowxpo” and features a striking and distinctive style, with strong neon purple and blue hues. The project began after Xavier took some images in Tokyo and Hong Kong that he intended to use as decoration in his own house. After his trip, the photographer printed the images out on brushed aluminium, before deciding to share some of them online also.

Traffic moving under a bridge in Bangkok.
Traffic moving under a bridge in Bangkok. Image by Xavier Portela

The images proved to be instantly popular, and eventually led to Xavier expanding the project. “I wasn’t expecting such a huge audience. It’s only after seeing how much people actually liked the series and started asking me for prints that I thought about extending it to more cities to create a bigger collection,” Xavier told Lonely Planet Travel News.

A rickshaw driver taking a break in Bangkok.
A rickshaw driver taking a break in Bangkok. Image by Xavier Portela

Xavier came up with the striking style for the project through trial and error, initially becoming frustrated that he could not convey the true feeling of what it was like to experience Tokyo at night when editing his images from that first trip. “I couldn’t get the ‘electricity’ feeling that you get when you are on location. So I left those pictures there for years, until one day I was watching anime. I remembered those shots and thought ‘what if I try to mess with the colours and atmosphere of those compositions?’ That’s how I landed on the idea of processing all the colours in order to make it more vibrant and powerful”.

An aerial shot of a train and traffic in Bangkok at night.
An aerial shot of a train and traffic in Bangkok at night. Image by Xavier Portela

The photographer also said that when it comes to capturing a new city, the best technique is to simply walk around as much as possible and explore what each unique location has to offer. “I don’t do anything special. It’s a personal project, so it stays quite spontaneous in terms of approach”.

More of Xavier’s work is available on his Instagram, as well as his official website.