Xander Angeles was born in Manila, Philippines and attended high school and college at the University of Santo Tomas. He joined the UST mountaineering club to escape the negative influences of the poverty he grew up around. “The club helped me so much,” he said. “We did mountain search and rescue, learned first aid and CPR. In the club they teach you how to push yourself. In the mountains it’s just you and a buddy. There’s no bad street influences in the mountains.” Angeles' interest in photography began when he was a member of a mountaineering club there. With a Pentax P30N as his first camera, he assumed the role of the club's archivist, taking pictures of events and climbs organized around the Philippines. While at UST, Angeles climbed all the major mountains in the Philippines, and continued climbing until a dangerous experience changed the course of his life. “The last mountain I climbed was Mt. Anangtud. The climb was supposed to last 5 days, but we were up there for 10 days with no food and water. It traumatized me and I never climbed again.”
His work was discovered by Dojo Palines, former president of the Advertising Photographers of the Philippines, in an exhibit mounted by a mountaineering specialty store. Angeles apprenticed under Palines for a year, gaining the basic and technical skills needed to pursue his passion.
Angeles' introduction to fashion photography began with long-time friend and top stylist, Millet Arzaga. Constant practice taking photos for glossy magazines and shooting fashion editorials in different locations led to more work, but his "big break" came when he was selected to shoot the 2002 FHM calendar, which generated much publicity and exposure. He went on to shoot the 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006 FHM calendars as well.
In 2003, Angeles began directing music videos. His first two videos, Wake Up and Numb, both by Filipino band Slapshock, won him Best Director at the MTV Pilipinas Awards. He then directed other music videos such as True Faith’s Deadma; Rachel Alejandro’s Keeper of My Heart; and Nino Alejandro's Ala-Ala and I Still Love You; His more recent works include Jaime Rivera's Will of the Wind and Erick Santos' version of Ala-Ala.
In 2004, Angeles launched The X Book, his first coffee table book. It was accompanied by a month-long mall tour.
Angeles’ work has also been recognized abroad. In 2004, he was selected by the American Photo Magazine as its Featured Grand Winner for The Glamour and Beauty category. In 2005, Digital Photographer Ukraine ran a 13-page article about him and his work. In his years of work in print advertising, Angeles built a portfolio of works commissioned by apparel and sporting brands Penshoppe, Oxygen, Adidas and Jag; beauty brands Ponds, L'Oreal and Splash; recording companies Star, Viva, Virgin/Emi and Octoarts records; department stores Rustan's and SM; and publishing houses Summit Media, ABS-CBN, MMPI, Fookien Times and Stargate Media Corp.
In the first quarter of 2007, Xander Angeles was on the panel of judges of Philippines' Next Top Model. In 2011, Angeles was named head photographer of Profiles Magazine.
The Philippine Star reported "With countless pictures of famous celebrities, supermodels and TV personalities, Xander definitely belongs to local photography's crème de la crème."
Style and influences
The Philippine Star reported that "One of the most sought-after in the advertising and fashion industries, Xander's works are marked by edginess, sensuality and an irreverent play and display of light and color. Masterpieces by top international photographers like Knight, Dah-Len, Rankin, Mondino, and La Chapelle are points of inspiration reflected in his work. His passion in the field is deeply rooted in using the medium as an expression of art and as an avenue for collaborative work involving creative individuals in fashion."
|2003||MTV Pilipinas Awards||Best Director||Music Video|
|2004||American Photo Magazine||Featured Grand Winner||Glamour and Beauty|
|2005||MTV Pilipinas Style Awards||Fashion Photographer of the Year|
|18th Awit Awards||Best Album Packaging for Novena by Slapshock|
|2008||IPMG Tinta Awards||Bronze Winner||Retail Outlet/Fast Food Store/Restaurant|
|2011||Go Negosyo||Young Inspiring Starpreneur|
|Velvet Channel||Best Hollywood Portrait|
|Kilatisin si Juan, Searching for your Filipino Pride II||Most Sought After Fashion & Advertising Photographer|
|2012||2nd Philippine Fashion Ball||Special Recognition of Excellence|
|25th Awit Awards||Best Album Packaging for Kinse Kalibre of Slapshock|
- Espiritu, Luis (May 31, 2004). "Rated X". philstar.com. The Philippine Star. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
- Ahn, Tony (September 17, 2013). "A Career with a Rocky Start: The Early Years of Xander Angeles". www.wheninmanila.com. When In Manila. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
- De Lara, Mary Joy T.; Seguia, Glaiza Marie A. (July 15, 2005). "Reinventing the Filipino lifestyle". www.varsitarian.net. The Varsitarian. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
- "Shooting the stars with Xander Angeles". philstar.com. The Philippine Star. November 28, 2011. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
- "Philippines' Next Top Models!". pep.ph. Philippine Entertainment Portal. January 14, 2009. Retrieved August 3, 2013.