Photographer Xavier Portela is back with a new addition to his Glow series. For years, Portela has been wandering city streets at night and capturing their energy through a series of stunning photographs. Often focusing on the neon-soaked atmosphere of Asian cities, he's now added Seoul to his list. For Seoul Glow, Portela spent four nights in the South Korean capital and transformed it into his playground.
As is typical with his Glow series, color is a key component. Interestingly, Portela uses color as a way to highlight the full sensory experience he had while in each city. “The colors help me to get back all the variables like the sound, the temperature, the noise, the atmosphere, and the vibe of the location,” Portela tells My Modern Met. “Glow is about how your brain remembers the place instead of how your eyes see it. The idea itself is about producing more vibrant visuals rather than just playing with colors.”
Portela used his short time in Seoul wisely. He scouted locations by day and then set out into the cold night to get the images that he was after. Unfortunately, what he wasn't expecting were the low temperatures. Glow is composed of multiple frames taken in one location that are then later merged together. Due to the freezing weather, Portela found it a challenge to take long exposures. While he was still able to capture some stunning scenes, he'd like to return again during a different season.
Still, his photos are a fascinating look at nightlife in the city. The buzz and energy of Seoul come alive through his work, and he's been encouraged by the positive feedback he's gotten from locals, which pushes him forward to explore even more cities.