Born in East Berlin in 1980, currently living in Berlin. Studied photography and media at Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences. Paula Winkler has been recognized for her work with the European Photo Exhibition Award.
Taking her cue from the manifold traditions of nude photography, Paula Winkler’s works of portrait photography explore issues of gender identity and its representation in the media. For her series Centerfolds (2013) – folded photographic works reminiscent of the gatefold spreads familiar from pin-up magazines – Winkler shot portraits of male nudes in eccentric poses. The inspiration for this series came from the so-called “Beefcake” magazines of the 1950s, which were pitched as sports and fitness magazines by publishers, but in actual fact targeted a gay readership. Winkler chose dancers and athletes as her models – men with a heightened awareness of their bodies and their aesthetic representation. Her work breaks with photographic traditions and conventional imagery, inviting viewers to reconsider social space and our understanding of gender roles. Similarly, in her series Exceptional Encounters (2011), which is comprised of portraits of naked men who had sought to meet new sexual partners through classified advertisements, Winkler deconstructs familiar images of bodies and notions of power and gender. At the age of nine years, Winkler relocated to West Berlin together with her parents before the fall of the Berlin Wall. This new beginning in a different country led Winkler to consider her origins and negotiate her personal identity at an early age. Against this backdrop the works in Centerfolds take on a whole new meaning in which the act of posing figures as a metaphor for the process of self-actualization.
Images 1 and 2: „Centerfolds“, 2013
Film // directed by Dörte Grimm * camera: Martin Jörg, Nadja Smith * cut: Nadja Smith * production: Nadja Smith