Michele Mateus, VANCOUVER BOUDOIR & Photographer
Let’s see what we have in common
If you look up Pieces in an encyclopedia (do those still exist?) you’ll find my picture there.
Hi, I’m Michele!
I’m a Vancouver photographer specializing in boudoir and portrait photography for women who want to go beyond what’s expected.
Cliche is out, showing up unapologetically you in all your glory is in!
I believe in artistry over conformity, which is why people choose me out of the plethora of Vancouver boudoir photographers, they are looking for something extra, something with that cool factor.
I am also a mother to a neurodivergent kiddo, woman living with Multiple Sclerosis and a survivor.
My clients rave about my ability to take the awkwardness out being in front of a camera, I think it might be because of my goofy jokes, or maybe my kick ass playlists.
Creating evocative portraits that celebrate the beauty and complexity of being a woman is my jam.
I like to think it’s also my part in helping chip away at the patriarchy, one badass portrait at a time.
Unapologetic self expression, curiosity and celebration are my core values, in business and life.
I am also a proud F word lover, some of my fav’s are: feminist, fabulous, fierce, fun, fiery, fries and of course f*ck! You may just hear me drop some F bombs from time to time, you’ve been warned.
My Photography Style
While I specialise in boudoir and portrait photography, my style is not what you’d often expect to see from these genres. When people go right, I like to go left. Life is too short to follow the crowd, and you deserve to be celebrated for who you are.
My style can be described in three words: artistic, minimalist, stylish, sensual and badass!
I take a contemporary approach to my work, focusing on creating intentional portraits with a minimalist aesthetic. My work is inspired by chiaroscuro paintings. Chiaroscuro is an Italian word which translates as light-dark, and refers to what I can the dance between shadow and light.
Black and white photography will always have my heart, as I feel it forces us to see without distraction, and it looks so damn chic! Let’s be honest, you’ll never look back at a black and white portrait and think it looks dated, there’s something about black and white portraiture that looks forever timeless.
Leonardo Da Vinici said it best “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”, this quote is the ethos of my photographic style.
What’s so empowering about photos?
Now let’s dive into the word: empowerment. It’s become a cringe worthy buzz word that often leaves many confused as to what it truly means, kinda like authentic but that discussion is for another day.
When people use the word “empowerment” the focus is often on the individual, but I see it as being
much bigger than that. Yes, empowerment may start within, but that electric and inner peace feeling becomes contagious, and will start to spread to those around us.
As a photographer who has been doing this work for 10 years and has photographed 100’s
of women, I know that empowerment looks different for everyone, and it should. Therefore to truly empower women I am committed to holding space for you explore and define what it means, looks and feels like, for you.
Think of me as your empowerment catalyst, but you my friend are the one that is in the driver’s seat, and only you can truly empower yourself.
Allowing yourself to embody a full expression of who you, without shame or judgment, is a big step towards self acceptance. It’s about embracing every facet of yourself: your wild, your vulnerability, your sensuality, your playful and badass energy.
This creative process will offer you the opportunity to feel a sense of liberation and freedom in your body, and who knows it might just light a fire in your heart too!
To me, that is what empowerment is about.
VIVRANT, a term coined by the hiphop artist Q-Tip, meaning “energetic, lively, or full of life” is how I try and be, without all that toxic positivity floating around, cause let’s be real, I also take self-pitty days with with my buds Ben & Jerry!
I’m also authentic af, another cringe worthy buzz word whose meaning has been lost, but not on me.
I speak my mind, wear what I want, share my heart, and do so in a way that is always about me staying true to my values. I’m not scared of losing likes on social media or vanity numbers, when we start to worry about that stuff, that’s when we are not living an authentically.
Friend, I’m here to keep it real, which is what most people love about me.
I asked 3 of my friends to describe me in 3 words, it’s wild that most of them said the same thing!
Am I that predictable, or that in alignment – you pick.
They shared that I am: energetic, vivacious (ps: those two words = vivrant!) a quirky creative, have a big open heart, and that they don’t how I do it, but that I am always finding the positives in life. I gladly accepted their kind words with a big juicy hug!
My husband would describe me as direct, caring and honest. Sometimes too honest, which has gotten me into trouble from time to time, but I’m ok with that.
I proudly practice what I preach. Living unapologetically, embracing my wobbly bits and trying new things that put me out of my comfort zone. I recently joined a heels dance class, and for the record I can’t walk in heels, so fingers crossed I don’t fall on stage!
Standing up for what I believe in will always be part of who I am. In case you’re wondering what some of those things are here’s a few big ones: Black Lives Matter, abortion is a woman’s right, love is love, mental health is nothing to be ashamed of, and we need to care for our planet better.
To summarize, I have ZERO tolerance for discrimination of any kind.
Now, if you want to smash the patriarchy, I am here for that!
I’m an empath who is allergic to small talk, I like to go deep, which is reflected in my work.
Once upon a time I loved to travel, but now I love nothing more than hitting the library to find new plant based cookbooks with yummy recipes that I have no time to make.
The year I lived in Japan is one of my top life highlights! I was 19, lost and needed to bust out of my small town. It’s also the year I fell deeply in love with karaoke! My husband got tired of me going on and on about how much I love Japan, so he proposed there to get on my ‘I love Japan’ storyline, but don’t tell him that my year alone there is still my top life highlight. I used to speak Japanese, and dream to find time to pick it back up. Did I mention I also speak Portuguese?
MY BACK STORY
Like many women I have been through some pretty heavy things, and the biggest lesson I have learned is to not let any of it dim my light, anymore.
I moved to Canada just before turning three, born in Rio de Janeiro Brasil. To lean into a stereotype, my fire and passion is literally in my blood.
While I am proud of my culture, like many, it’s deeply rooted in toxic masculinity. I grew up watching my father put my mother down, relentlessly, which is what brought me to this work.
As a boudoir and portrait photographer I am committed to raising women up, offering to you what I didn’t have the chance to give her, as she passed of breast cancer at the young age of 49.
Before you feel bad for me, please don’t.
All the messiness and adversity I have worked through is what has made me who I am, and quite frankly is why I create art the way I do. It can be tiring to always be referred to as the strong one, the warrior, sometimes I just want to be soft and gushy, but I am proud of my tenacious resilience.
My most cherished photo is one of my mother and I on the day I graduated from University.
It’s by my desk in my studio, make sure to peek at it when you come. I can thank her for my smile, infectious laugh and big heart.
AWARDS & ACCOLADES
I feel so grateful to have won over 40 awards for my boudoir and portrait work, all with women like you. I apply to awards to have that nerve wracking feeling of putting my work in front of judges, and to learn. We fall in love with our own art and to have our blind spots reflected back at us is humbling. I’ve also won top photographer in my city where I live for the last 5 years in a row, which makes a gal feel pretty loved.
In 2022 I placed in the top 20 for the Boudoir Category for the Portrait Masters awards, which blew my mind! I’ll share the portrait below! In 2023 I was accredited with the Portrait Masters, which let me tell you is not easy to, so when that medal came in the mail you better believe I celebrated!
I’ve had the chance to be featured on some pretty cool podcasts, check them here, and in 2023 I was on CBC television, that was so surreal and so damn cool to be able to get up there and talk about celebrating women as we age and smashing patriarchal beauty standards. Seeing my work in the CBC studio when I walked in is a memory I will never forget. If you missed it you can see it HERE.
HOW TO HIRE ME
Cheers to you for reading all of this, in a world that measures information in character counts I am impressed you stuck with me! I think you’re rad for taking all this time to learn more about me, I suspect you care about making values based decisions as much as I do.
Click the cherry red button below to book a time with me so I can learn all about you, why you want
to be photographed and how I can bring your vision and story to life.
I’ll leave you with one of my favourite quotes that hits home deeply:
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” ~Maya Angelou
Thank you for being here.
I own too many lipsticks, the brighter
Fueled by plants, popcorn and vegan ice cream
Dog lover for life