Belgian photographer Xavier Portela is known for his electrifying Glow series, where the world’s buzzing city streets are captured in neon hues. Each hyper-saturated image emulates an eerie, cinematic mood and could easily be mistaken for the set of Blade Runner. However, for his latest work, Portela takes inspiration from another, equally dangerous fantasy world—Netflix’s Stranger Things.
The Upside Down Glow collection comprises some of Portela’s images from the last two years, including photos from New York, Hong Kong, Chicago, and Busan. Gathering his best photos of rain-slicked streets and puddle reflections, Portela digitally flipped them vertically, to create the illusion of “the upside down” dimension. The photographer told My Modern Met, “I had that in mind since I saw Stranger Things and their Upside Down world, I was thinking maybe sometimes I could capture a reflection so good that you don’t feel right away that it is a reflection, even if you are looking at it upside down.”
At first glance, it’s hard to tell which part of the image is the reflection and which part is real life. A closer look reveals the top part of the images as slightly blurry, rippled versions of reality. Each image looks as though you could jump into the puddled surfaces into another dimension.
Scroll down to check out Portela’s vibrant The Upside Down Glow series and find more from his ever-growing portfolio on his website.