During one of my visits to New York, I found this amazing book of a photographer I never heard of: Karlheinz Weinberger. At that time I worked together with a stylist to produce a series of fashion-stories for a magazine called BLVD. One of the stories we made was based on the photographs of Karlheinz Weinberger.
In 1938, Swiss-born Karlheinz Weinberger (1921-2006) encounters a young rocker on the streets of Zürich, who posed for a shot. It was then that this photographer for gay magazines worked his way into the culture of swiss gangs. Weinberger who was most of the time without work, finally found a job at Siemens working in the inventory department and spent most of his free time and off-houres working passionately, almost obsessively at his photographs.
The adolescents, under American influence, were playing tough guys on big bikes, displaying the name of their bands, rolling around on the ground and kissing in the woods. They would wear horseshoe symbols, helmets of the Wehrmacht as a sign of their rejection of authority. They replaced the zippers of their jeans with chains. screws or belt buckles with Elvis’ head. Weinberger got fascinated by this phenomenon and started photographing them during their daily life in a very raw but personal way. Sometimes bringing them one by one to his studio, an industrial warehouse in which he worked for a large part of his life.
The kids were called ‘Halbstarke’ which literally means ‘half strong’ and Weinberger captured them in a rightly sexy, shocking and iconic way. It’s during the last 10 years collectors, fashion and film directors have become interested in the photographs of Weinberger, while they remain almost unknown to the grand public.
KARLHEINZ WEINBERGER’S WORK IN HIS STUDIO
KARLHEINZ WEINBERGER’S WORK ON LOCATION
In 2000, Weinberger’s exhibition catalog Karlheinz Weinberger: Photos 1954-1995 was published and has become a hard-to-find collectors item.
I’m selling my original exhibition cataloge Karlheinz Weinger: Photos 1954-1995. The cover is a bit damaged on the left top corner, but the inside and all pictures are in a used-very good condition.
It had an immediate influence on Steven Meisel (Versace jeans campaign) and Martin Margiela (huge tough looking belts).
On February 8, 2011, Rizzoli published posthumous a second book of the work of Karlheinz Weinberger Rebel Youth, the foreword written by film director John Waters.
Pictures inspired by the work of Weinberger for BLVD magazine.
In the november issue 2009 of Blackbook, a fashion story is published inspired on the work of Karlheinz Weinberger, called The Dirty Dozen.