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Michele Mattei

Michele Mattei is a world-renowned photographer who began her photographic career in journalism. Gamma, the legendary French photo agency, engaged her to open their first Latin American bureau. During this time Michele traveled throughout the continent to cover political stories, civil unrest, indigenous peoples, environmental problems, and women's issues. She obtained exclusive interviews with several heads of state including Eduardo Frei, Salvador Allende, Agusto Pinochet the president of Chile, and Juan Paron the president of Argentina. As the political situation became more dangerous, Gamma convinced her to relocate and she opened Gamma's first bureau in California. Soon after, she initiated her own agency supplying photographs and text to media networks in 21 countries. This work incorporated diverse projects including advertising campaigns, books, and film.


Michele has worked on many book projects including the documentation of the men and women of Silicon Valley who have technologically revolutionized our lives. She has created a photographic series on female producers in Hollywood as well as dedicating a collection documenting on the adverse effects of silicon in women's bodies. She has also created a series for public television on child abuse and co-produced the "Longest Holiday," a one-hour program, focusing on the Joys of aging. Most recently she worked on another project concerning women and aging called "Fabulous," selecting leaders in their later years who lived creative and fulfilling lives.

Michele has had many photographic exhibitions around the world including Los Angeles, London, Abu Dhabi, and Bangkok. Michele lives and works in Los Angeles.

Available Works

PLEASE NOTE: All of Mattei's works can be ordered on demand in varying image sizes, on varying paper, with varying borders and edges.

Capturing Natural Beauty 

In contrast to the human condition that Mattei documented in photojournalism, she also embraced the concept and wonder of natural beauty - capturing the raw essence of flowers, shells, and the human form.

Blooms Series

The Heart of the Flower: Style, Stigma and Stamen: "When I pointed my close-up lens for the first time at the heart of a flower, I was disturbed and surprised. The delicate corolla of the bloom was exposing a blatant spectacle of sexuality. The stigma and the antlers were calling to sex with the brutal persuasion of Maple Thorpe. The appetite of nature is not demure, it is blatant, sensual, inspiring, and exhilarating. I take such pleasure examining its beauty." - Mattei

Shell Series

Emerging Series

"This series points to the moment when energy meets matter, when the invisible reveals itself as a quivering image coming to light. The human image traces the inevitable struggle when chaos and violence come into a pattern of resolution. It is the liminal state between being and not being: the emergence of life. The photographs are conceptualized and captured entirely in the camera. Flash bursts register the body in motion. It is the reflection of transitional imagery and it retains the infinite in its layers of transparency. As in drawing or painting, the series refer to the early stages of the work, a layering of images or pentimento." - Mattei

Capturing Women & Aging

Fabulous Series: Women of Age, Influence, and Accomplishment

Fabulous! Book

"Fabulous was exhibited for four months at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington D.C. as a part of their 25th anniversary celebration. Fabulous is a collection of portraits and conversations with some of the world's most extraordinary women in the prime of their 70+ years. All were born in the early 1900s and have lived through wars, revolutions, the Civil Rights Movement, Women's Liberation, Modern Art and the coming of the nuclear age. These women have shaped today's reality for the better; they are the bearers of tradition and teachers of the future. Each is creative, wise, and beautiful." - Mattei

Michele Mattei on the making of "Fabulous" 

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