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 Ma. Gempesaw Villegas was born, and grew up amidst a life of art and photography.
Named after the famous camera brand, he was introduced to the arts at a very tender age by his Dad. Soon he grew up and studied AB Communication Arts at the Ateneo de Davao University. He started photography in college as an elective in school and moved on to work for local dailies and websites.
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.
After finishing his second degree in 2008, Niko moved to New York City where he landed an apprenticeship with Ace Lensman Xander Angeles. He spent almost two years in the Big Apple honing his craft even more.
Culled from his father's conventional and meticulous techniques, he treats the medium like traditional photography, where everything must be in order before clicking the shutter, and to not be dependent on postproduction as much as possible. He took up fine art darkroom film photography in school, while shooting digital side by side.
Concentrating on portraiture, fashion and advertising photography, his major influences and inspirations apart from his Dad are his mentor Xander Angeles, Jerry Ghionis, Chase Jarvis, and Richard Avedon.
Currently, Niko is based in Manila, Philippines and works for Edge of Light Studios. He shoots for the country's top publications and major advertising campaigns. He also endorses Phottix Photography equipment, Lowepro bags, Wacom Cintiq tablets and is the youngest X Photographer in the Philippines.