MICHELE MATTEI was born in Paris, France. She prepared l’ Ecole Normale Superieure and obtained a BA in literature and history. She was invited to study Political Sciences at the University of Chile.
THE JOURNALIST BEGINNINGS. It is in Chile that Mattei began her career in journalism. Gamma, the world-renowned French photo agency engaged her to open their first Latin American bureau. During this time she traveled throughout the Latin American continent to cover political stories. She obtained exclusive interviews with several heads of state, including Eduardo Frei, Salvador Allende, Augusto Pinochet, the Presidents of Chile and Juan and Isabel Peron, the Presidents of Argentina. As the political situation became more dangerous and kidnappings were a daily occurrence, Gamma convinced her to relocate: she opened Gamma’s first bureau in California. Soon after, she initiated her own agency supplying photographs and texts to a media network in twenty countries.
BECOMING A PHOTOGRAPHER. Mattei left her agency, after much success, to become a photographer. Keen to develop her talent and to actively pursue her new venture, she accepted a wide variety of assignments -- portraiture, photojournalism, major magazine articles and product advertising. She served as the photographic designer on “How Quietly We Cry,” a play about child abuse and worked as a special assignment photographer on numerous motion pictures.
WORKING AS A PHOTOJOURNALIST. As a photojournalist, Mattei traveled throughout the world covering such diverse subjects as civil unrest in Central America, environmental problems in Russia and the Baltic Republics, near extinct tribes in Latin American and women’s issues worldwide. Mattei's work has included projects such as a photographic essay on the men and women in Silicon Valley, California, a series on women producers in Hollywood, a project for Public Access Television on child abuse, a study on the effects of silicone on women's bodies and a reportage on transsexuals.
CREATIVE RESOURCING IN FILM AND STAGE During this time, Mattei also followed a variety of creative endeavors, to deepen her creative resources. She co-produced the “New Playwrights Writing Series” which was dedicated to the development of new material for the stage and is a founding member of the award-winning Wilton Project, a Los Angeles-based theater company. She wrote and co-produced “The Longest Holiday,” a one-hour video program on the joys of aging, which was selected for the New York Film Festival and broadcast worldwide. In 2007 Michele filmed a documentary in Ethiopia “Through This World But Once,” produced by Wayne Schoenfeld on the mission of the ROTAPLAST team of doctors who travel remote locations to repair children’s cleft palate and physical disfiguration. Part of the documentary was used for Rotaplast’s fund raising activities. A one-hour version will be distributed in Europe and Canada.
PHOTOGRAPHY IN ADVERTISING AND EDITORIAL VENUES She is actively involved in advertising campaigns and works with major magazines such as Paris Match, Vogue International, G.Q., Stern, Amica and Figaro Madame. To date she has interviewed and photographed artists as diverse as Jorge Luis Borges, Eugene Ionesco, Francis Ford Coppola, Richard Gere, Clint Eastwood, David Lynch and T.C. Boyle. Just recently, Mattei’s work was awarded at the prestigious Advertising Photographers Association Awards. At the present time, she has three illustrated books in various stages of development.
FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY. Mattei chose to dedicate to her fine art photography. Her portraiture and fine art photography have been exhibited worldwide. Mattei was awarded a solo exhibition at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington DC. for the celebration of their 25th anniversary from October 2012 – February 2013. Mattei was honored for her photographs of outstanding women who empowered and inspired generations worldwide in politics, literature, medicine, finance, fashion, dance and entertainment throughout the last century. In the show entitled by the museum "Fabulous", Mattei's portraits included Louise Bourgeois, Betty Friedan, Agnes Martin, Dolores Huerta, Sonia Rykiel, Helen Gurley Brown, Françoise Giroud. Muriel Siebert, Andrée Putman… Following that achievement, Mattei developed a unique project at the Mental Institute of Thuir in France with the resident patients. She photographed an experimental cinema program entitled “Cinemad”, wherein the patients chose to participate in all aspects of movie making as a therapeutic aid to their illness. Her photographs were exhibited at the foremost French gallery “A Cent Metres du Centre du Monde”, in January 2013 and the series has been selected for the acclaimed "Visa Off", in Perpignan, France.
Mattei is represented in London by Lucy B. Campbell and in Beverly Hills by Timothy Yarger Fine Art. Her work has received recognition during multiple exhibits and has been presented at the London Art Fair, The Dubai Art Festival, Art Miami, Art Los Angeles, Art Platform and many more.