Initially recruited by Gamma, the premiere French photo agency, Mattei established and lead their first Latin American bureau. During a period marked by extreme political and social upheaval Mattei was one of the very few women journalists in the region. She covered the killing of President Salvador Allende and the taking over of the Presidential palace the day of the coup d’état in Santiago – Chile.

Her fair and accurate portrayal of a continent in upheaval soon attracted the leaders of governments and she was awarded exclusive interviews with Presidents: Eduardo Frei (Chile), Salvador Allende (Chile), Augusto Pinochet (Chile), Juan Peron, Isabel Peron (Argentina), Lopez Michelsen (Colombia).

The fast and relevant stories by Mattei and her news bureau helped European publications increase their readership.

  • Mattei founded Mega Productions providing photographs and copy to an international media network after establishing her new base in Los Angeles.
  • She initiated a new style of photojournalism for the world market by combining hard fact journalism with artistic visual representation, anticipating the world appetite for continuous Hollywood movie star news.
  • She was published by the world’s leading tier 1 magazines: Paris Match, Vogue International, GQ, Stern and Figaro Madame.
  • She interviewed and photographed over a hundred celebrities such as Richard Gere, Clint Eastwood, David Lynch, Tom Cruise, Bill Pullman, Charlie Sheen, Martin Sheen, John Travolta, Richard Gere, Clint Eastwood, Muhamad Ali, T.C. Boyle… She spent three months in the Philippines on F.F. Coppola’s ‘Apocalypse Now’ and worked on many feature stories on the power structures in Hollywood.

Influenced by the many artists she met over the years, Mattei went from a documentary form of representational photography to a more subjective type of portraiture.

Mattei is represented by galleries in North America and Europe and has been honored with multiple gallery shows. Her portraiture and fine art have been exhibited worldwide.

“It is always a challenge to bridge the gap between who we are, who we want to be and how we want others to see us. Photography lives at the intersection of this conundrum. On both sides of the camera, there exists a demand for understanding, truth and respect. The creative moment prevails between representation and interpretation.”

For more information about Michele Mattei visit

Form Magazine

Author: Form Magazine

FORM: pioneering design, a publication that celebrates Southern California’s contribution to architecture, design, and the visual arts.