Maite AV Photography


My name is Maite Arbildua, I am a documentary family photographer based in Melbourne, Australia, and in this photo I’m just 3 days old. I was born in the early 80’s, and according to my abuelita Consuelo, I came out dancing zarzuela with my hands wide open (not very usual to have a newborn opening their hands like that apparently, to my abuelita I was already ahead of other babies!)

I was born a few years ago in Santiago, Chile. These guys holding me as a baby are my maternal grandparents, Manuel and Consuelo (the only grandparents I got the opportunity to meet), who travelled all the way from Spain to see me being born (highlight of their lives for sure). They had migrated to Chile in the 40’s from Asturias, northern Spain, formed their family and a prosperous baking business, but then returned to Spain in the 70’s. My mum stayed behind because she fell in love with my dad. Totally movie material!

These are my parents, Jose Luis and Consuelo, back in the old days.

They look happy, right?

And this is them again, just a few years back. 45 years of marriage!

I am the youngest of 3, and the only girl. From left to right, Diego, me and Ignacio. My childhood is full of memories of us fighting over everything and anything What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger! I LOVE this photo. My dad probably took it. He is also a photography fanatic, and I feel a big part of my love for photography comes from seeing him enjoying taking photos of us growing up.

My brothers at my weeding, a few years back. I got married in 2009 to that cute guy in the middle. We met online (thank you MySpace!) and fell hard for each other. Weirdly enough, we didn’t really pay much attention to photos being taken during our wedding. The ones we do have are a special treasure we come across from time to time when we go through our external hard drives. Can you spot the irony? Hi! A documentary photographer here!?

He is a keeper.

We lived in Toronto, Canada, for 2 years right after we got married. He went to get his masters degree and I worked at the Old Navy store at Eaton Centre and took English classes. We were so poor back then, but oh SO happy. What an amazing city Toronto is! Here you can see us freezing our asses off one of the times we visited Niagara Falls. Even though we had no money, the little one we did have went into… concert tickets! Both of us are BIG music addicts. We got to see Neil Young, The Black Crows, Laura Veirs, City and Colour, Danko Jones and so many others. So Lucky.

This happened in 2012. After THIS, my love for photography became a big part of my life. I think I have (not kidding) more than 10 thousand photos of this little one’s first year. They’re all crap! but it introduced me to the world of family photography and documenting life.

It happened again!


I LOVED being pregnant! Both times, even though I went through zombie hell during my first trimesters. After that it was the most amazing months… no need to pull in my tummy! Two extremely different experiences, but equally amazing. Every time I get the opportunity to photograph a pregnancy I remember my own journey and where I am now, and I feel so grateful to be the one who will preserve that moment for someone!

7 years ago we decided to leave everything behind and move to (literally) the other side of the world. The amazing city of Melbourne became our home, and it was here that my journey as a professional photographer began. This photo was taken during one of my parents visits, who come at least once a year to be with their grand kids (because let’s be honest, we don’t matter to them any more)

Two of my favourite people that I miss every single day even though we don’t talk as often as I would like. Met at Uni around 20 years ago (oh dear…), and have managed to keep in touch in spite of life’s surprises.

I love animals in general, but cats are just number one in my heart. This is Kora (the cat), posing as a renaissance feline. She came into our lives to fill our lives with laughter, scratches and the stinkiest breath.

Just to show that I’m not only into cats. She was my first proper pet, Katina, the crazy husky. By looking at my face you can tell I was actually a bit scared of her! She hated cats and killed a couple of them in her youth (one in front of me, very traumatic). We got her when I was 8 and died of old age when I was 23!

We moved from Santiago, Chile to Melbourne, Australia in 2014, following my partner’s dream of becoming a Doctor (not the “I save lives for a living” kind of a

doctor but a very intelligent architect). Melbourne got us bad! What a city! My son was born during this time, with all the ups and downs of being by ourselves with no family support, but we pulled through! (practising for Covid 19 I guess). I am currently a full

time mum working as a freelance documentary photographer. Not easy! But so fun and fulfilling when I get to document someone else’s life and I help them store memories like the ones I’m sharing with you right now.

I am an avid street photographer. When I am not capturing people’s lives, I go out and (in an non-psycho way at all) document the streets. I freak out any time I go out without my camera because I just know I’ll see something worth being photographed, and I bloody hate my self when that happens and I can’t capture it! I 100% believe anything can be a photo, it only depends how you see the world around you.

This is me!

I took this portrait my self for a photo exhibition I was a part of. It ended up being my “work portrait”… too serious you say?

Oh yeah… this is more accurate…