Paula Lerner's passion for photographing people has taken her from the Amazon to Afghanistan. Since 1985 she has been commissioned by a wide variety of national and international clients in addition to pursuing her own projects. Her editorial roster includes Smithsonian, People, Time, Newsweek, and Business Week among others, plus a host of European and Asian magazines. Among her corporate and advertising clients are Agfa, Bright Horizons, Harvard, MIT, Boston University, Children's Hospital Boston, The Annie E. Casey Foundation and The Commonwealth Fund. Her personal work has been shown in venues throughout the northeast and has been part of national traveling exhibits.
Paula photographs people in all walks of life, and her assignments range from stories on cancer patients, factory workers, and corporate executives to profiles of eminent scientists, authors, and performing artists. Her images have been selected multiple times for publication in the juried annuals of Communication Arts, American Photography and Px3 Prix de la Photographie in Paris. Her photo essay "A Widow on Welfare: An Untold Story," won First Place for Issue Reporting in the prestigious 55th Pictures of the Year competition.
In 2004, Paula began a collaboration with Deb Murphy on the book, "Why We Walk: The Inspirational Journey Toward a Cure for Breast Cancer," which tells the poignant and personal stories of some of the hundreds of thousands of people who participate in breast cancer fundraising walks each year. The book was published by Rutledge Hill Press in the fall of 2005.
During 2005 and 2006, Paula traveled to Afghanistan three times to document the programs of the Business Council for Peace (a.k.a. Bpeace), an organization that helps women in post-conflict countries set up self-sustaining businesses. Her work earned her a VERA (Volunteer Excellence Recognition Award) from Bpeace in 2006. A multimedia feature of this body of work titled The Women of Kabul was published on The Washington Post web site in November of 2006, and was a Webby Award honoree. In 2007 and 2009 she traveled to Kandahar, the capital of southern Afghanistan, to work on a long-term project on women there. Her feature The Life and Death of Sitara Achakzai, about a prominent female Kandahari politician, was a Webby Award Honoree in 2010. Later that year she collaborated with the Toronto Globe and Mail to produce Behind The Veil, an Emmy-award winning multimedia feature about women in Kandahar, which was also a Webby Award Nominee and winner of a prestigious EPPY Award.
Paula earned a BA in Philosophy from Harvard in 1984. She lives near Boston with her husband and their two daughters. Paula's stock photography is represented by Aurora Photos, an international photo agency based in Portland, Maine. In her rare spare moments she can be found on cliff faces indulging an addiction to rock climbing.