Born in Jersey City, New Jersey on October 17 in 1954, Paula Rearden moved to New Brunswick when she was just 8 years old. Known in the Biker world as Pulsating Paula, her photographs of New Jersey bikers in the ’80s and ’90s are dripping with authenticity and fun. Paula once said, “Got married to my first lay in 1973. 10 years later he bought me a camera, a Canon AE1. I still have it.”
She started taking photos of biker parties and tattoo events and she sent them into ‘Biker Lifestyle Magazine’ who later Paisano publications took over. They came out with ‘Tattoo Magazine’ first of its kind ever. Between the Biker and Tattoo magazines, she had thousands of photos published. “My 10 minute set up of my photography studio consisted of 2 floodlights that burnt the shit out of any poor person in front of them and a 6×9 foot black cloth I got from Kmart that was tacked onto a wall.”
Shooting almost exclusively in black and white, she never considered herself professional, even though her work rivaled many so-called pros. The fact is that she just loved these people and photographing them and their lifestyle with every fiber of her being. “Never considered myself professional ever. I just loved doing it with every fiber in my body. I know the wonderful people I met and places I been in this journey will live on forever in my photographs.”
Pulsating Paula was on the East Coast documenting bikers from her point of view. She knew all of the wonderful people she met by name and the countless places she has been in her journey will live on forever in her photographs. What is so compelling about her photography is that her photos bleed honesty, passion, and a high level of respect for her subjects. I’m not sure if she knew she was capturing history, but she did. Thank you Paula for all you have done, Rest easy.
We’ve assembled some of our favorite shots in the gallery below, but you can find countless other shots online at various biker and magazine sites or on her Imgur page here >