“It was by night, on a beach –  the full moon was shining – that I tried, for the first time, a more experimental photography technique. By working with the sea and its elements, directly on light-sensitive paper and without a camera, I discovered the possibility of revealing an imaginative world that fascinated me. In the footprints of waves, sand, and pebbles, I found nebulae, galaxies, and new territories. I was at the birth of the universe.

A few years later, I wanted to rediscover this ability to transform reality, this time with a camera. I had fun, I cannot say otherwise, in finding all kinds of elements in nature or in everyday life; I used shapes, transparencies and colours to create foreign lands where I loved to get lost in.

The Atlantide and Phosphène series were born from this approach.

Set off on a research with or without a specific goal, glean in reality what is given to you, find connections, associate, compose and then photograph; and once the photograph is taken, discover it, transform it slightly to erase the landmarks and travel freely within the image, follow your imagination, accept it’s mystery without trying to solve it.

Then choose a paper that brings out the tone and sensuality of the image and amplifies its mystery. How many times have I heard the exclaim “but this is a painting!” Yet that is not the purpose of my research.

Photography documents reality. It makes visible. It shares.

But it is also an invitation to travel. It offers the unexpected, it reveals the invisible.”

— Valérie Winckler



La mer, la mer, toujours recommencée

Gallery Sit Down

09.12.2021 – 10.03.2021


Born to an English mother and a French father, Valérie Winckler had an itinerant childhood and an unconventional education. Trained as an art historian, she worked on l’Inventaire Monumental des Richesses artistiques de la France at the Ministry of Culture, and later left to devote herself to photography, collaborating with press magazines, advertising agencies and publishers. Very passionate about social topics and long-time projects, she has always managed to keep time for her personal work. The first subject Maternelles(Kindergartens), was exhibited at the Rencontres de la Photographie in Arles (France) in 1979. In 1984, she joins the Rapho Agency.

In 1985, Actes de naissance,her book on birth is published, followed in 1988 by a book on death, La mort si proche.

After La mort si proche, Valérie Winckler is invited several times, to speak to healthcare workers. She then creates her first montage mixing sound and photos. She uses the same technique for the film Peines,the life of a family when the father is in prison. This experience brings her to direct many other documentary movies for ARTE and Canal+.

In 2000, Valérie Winckler starts to explore other techniques such as photograms. She develops her artistic work with the Thessa Herold Gallery until it closes down in 2019 and, at the same time, she continues her documentary work.


I have always been amazed at the thread that links my different activities. Connections appear unexpectedly and open doors to unknown territories which lead to other forms and other languages. But the themes and questions remain: the ages of life, the mystery of origins, the taste for depths and for people. “

Solo Exhibition

Nos années collège, Gallery Entr@cte, Ville d’Avray, 2019

Brumes, Paris, Gallery Thessa Herold, 2014

L’empreinte des rêves, Paris, Gallery Thessa Herold, 2011

Les origines, Paris, Gallery Thierry Marchand, 2009

Minuit sur la lune, Paris, Gallery Thessa Herold, 2008

Visages de l’aube, Paris, Bibliothèque André Malraux, 2015. UNESCO, 2001

Peines, Paris, Galerie Edgar Faure, Toit de la Grande Arche de la Défense, 1992. Paris, UNESCO, 1992

La mort si proche, Naples, Institut de France, 1992. Nyon, Gallery Focale, 1992. Gallery Fnac, 1988-89

Crèches, Exposition itinérante du Ministère des Affaires étrangères, 1980

Le blé en herbe, Toulouse, le Grenier à sel, 1980

Maternelles, Amsterdam, Maison Descartes, 1980. Arles, Rencontres internationales de la photographie, 1979

Collective Exhibitions

La mer, la mer, toujours recommencée, Gallery Sit Down, 2020

Paris Photo, 2009, 2011 à 2017 (Gallery Thessa Herold)

Ils s’exposent pour la vie, Paris, Hotel de ville, 2009

Art Paris, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2018 (Gallery Thessa Herold)

Est-ce ainsi que les hommes vivent ? Paris, Grilles des jardins du Sénat, 2005-2006

Naissances, Paris, Musée de l’Homme, 2005-2006

Images sensibles, Fnac 1998

Chroniques contemporaines , des femmes photographes racontent… Musée d’Histoire Contemporaine, Invalides, Paris, 1993.

Les soignants au cœur des années Sida, Musée de l’Assistance Publique, Paris, 1992.

Exclusions, Grande Arche de la Défense, Paris, 1992



Visages de l’Aube, in collaboration with Nancy Huston, Ed. Actes Sud, 2001

La mort si proche, Ed. du Centurion, 1988

Actes de naissance, Ed. du Centurion, 1985


Marietta (2013), 15min. Edition DVD for l’Association Marietta

Plus loin que le bleu du ciel (2005), 52min- Screened on Arte

Entre les deux la vie (2004), 52min- Screened on Arte

Darwin et la science de l’évolution (2003), 52 min-Screened on Arte, Planète…

L’Heure de la piscine (1995), 26 min- Screened on Canal Plus, Planète, La Cinq, Arte

Peines (1991), 20 min, Screened on Canal Plus

Liens Vimeo :

Peines:  https://vimeo.com/130227384 – Password: VWPEINES91

L’heure de la piscine:  https://vimeo.com/166985315 – Password: LDLP1995 

Entre les deux la vie https://vimeo.com/167187581 – Password: EL2LV2004


Etoile de la SCAM, 2007

First prize at the festival Imagésanté, Liège 2008, section éducation à la santé

Mention spéciale du Ministère des Affaires étrangères au Cinéma du Réel 1996

Grands Prix Scam 1997 : prix Jean Lods-Jeunes Talents

Prix des nuits photographiques, 2015

Primé au festival Vidéo Psy de la Villette en 1992

Selected at the Cinéma du Réel (1992), aux Etats Généraux du Documentaire à Lussas (1992), à la Mondiale du Québec (1993), à Visa pour l’Image à Perpignan(1993), dans le cadre du mois de la Photo à Paris, à Vu sur les doc (écrans vidéochroniques) Marseille 1996.