Niko Villegas

Photographer Male New York, New York, US
Mayhem # 637244

About Me

By Jojie Alcantara (for SUNSTAR DAVAO)

On December 1, 1983, renowned Davao photographer and artist Arnel S. Villegas and wife Teresa brought forth into this world a kid whose name is destined to foretell his future profession in life. Niko Miguel Gempesaw Villegas was born, and grew up amidst a life of art and photography mentored by his father.

Named after the famous camera brand Nikon, he was introduced to the arts at a very tender age by his Dad. Soon he grew up and studied AB Mass Communications in Ateneo de Davao University. He started photography in college as an elective in school and moved on to work for local dailies and websites.

Already in the digital age, he started fiddling with digital cameras in 2004, while working for SunStar Davao under Charles Maxey in the Sports Department and the tutelage of veteran photographer Rene Lumawag in the Photo Department. He’s had a stint as a columnist in Mindanao Times (“Short Shift” in the Motoring Section), and then became Chief Photographer and Editor in Chief for, which was Davao’s first online automotive magazine.

Niko decided to broaden his horizon and moved to the United States in 2006 to pursue a second degree, which was a BA in Photography at The Art Center Design College, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Currently, he uses his namesake Nikon cameras, both film SLR and Digital SLR.

Culled from his father’s conventional and meticulous techniques, he treats photography like traditional photography, where everything must be in order before clicking the shutter, and to not be dependent on post production. He takes fine art darkroom film photography in school, while shooting digital with less Photoshop as much as possible. Concentrating on portraiture, fashion and lifestyle photography, his major influences and inspirations apart from his Dad are Manny Librodo, Chase Jarvis, Richard Avedon and Annie Leibovitz.

Niko’s very first exhibit in the US opened last December 13, 2007 at the Albuquerque Press Club, Albuquerque, New Mexico USA and will run till January 2008. Entitled WGGPS (Wine Guzzling Guerilla Photo Shoot) Photo Exhibit, his fellow photographers in the exhibit are Rip Williams - Pro Photographer (Commercial and Editorial work), and Jonathan Wright (Enthusiast).

This show was conceived during one of those WGGP nights every Wednesday, when Rip Williams opens his studio and invites over photographers for creative collaboration, with models, and makeup artists. Niko was then invited by Rip. Two rooms are utilized in the exhibit: the main room showcases fine art/classical, rustic and monochromatic photographs while the Bar Area is derived from the Wednesday shoots, very colorful, pin-up type of photography, with high fashion and editorial pieces.

Niko exhibits 16 pieces in this show, 6 black and white photographs from his travels in New York and Philadelphia, and 10 portraits. This is his first major exhibit and outside of the Philippines yet. A member of the Guerilla Photo Group (Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA), Digital Photographer Philippines, and the Fanatic Photographers Society Davao, this 24-year old emerging photographer dreams to be the youngest Nikon and Hasselblad Master one day.

Bless his parents for instinctively knowing that when they conceived of him.


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