In the 1950’s, Swiss-born Karlheinz Weinberger was introduced to the youth rockers parading the streets of Zurich. As a photographer for the local gay magazines, Weinberger invited the American influenced rockers into his studio to capture their portraits. These blonde headed rockers embodied the ideals of American rock and wore layered looks of denim, hardware and leather jackets with their band names painted on their backs. They construed the ideals of 1950’s fashion by replacing pant zippers with chains, screws, or belt buckles with Elvis’s head. As any rocker does, a political statement was made by wearing horseshoe symbols as a sign of rejection of the authority. Karlheinz Weinberger knew how to capture these subjects and their mission as youth, showcasing their extreme fashions and attitudes toward social norms.
Although Karlheinz Weinberger had been a snapping photos his whole life, he was only discovered in 2011 after his death in 2006. The images of these “Halbstarke” which translates to “Half Strong” were published in 2011 by Rizzoli. The book and the images of “Rebel Youth” are now on exhibition at Festival des Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles 2017 from 3 July to 24 September in Arles, France.