Shooting the Swiss teen rebels of the 1950s

Shooting the Swiss teen rebels of the 1950s

Without a cause — Despite being unknown for most of his life, photographer Karlheinz Weinberger built an impressive archive of work – capturing bikers, rockers, and leather-clad outsiders. Now his artistic trove is finally being uncovered.

Before his death in 2006, Karlheinz Weinberger was little known. The Swiss photographer had spent most of his life working at Siemens plant in Zurich, only pausing briefly to shoot on his breaks, evenings and weekends. For him, his real life – the one where he got to indulge in his passion for photography – started on Friday night, and ended on Monday morning.

Weinberger’s work focused mainly on the characters living on the fringes of society. He would shoot his fellow plant workers, immigrants, bikers, rockers, and rebellious leather-clad teens – basically, anyone who positioned themselves as an “outsider” or who felt left behind in some way by mainstream culture.

Now, for the first time, Weinberger’s huge artistic trove is being published. Thanks to art-book publisher Sturm & Drang, the photographer’s stylish black and white portraits will finally see the light of day, with five volume-long photo book series currently in the works. The first publication, focusing on his run-ins with bikers and rebels, is called HALBSTARKE (a Swiss-German word for rebels/outsider – go figure).

“Tens of thousands of prints, slides and negatives have been collected, archived, numbered and indexed over the course of the last decade,” revealed Sturm & Drang in a statement. “With Halbstarke as Volume #1, Sturm & Drang publishers will follow with more releases that cover topics such as sports, tattoos and insignias, his travels to the South of Italy, and the extensive work he did with biker gangs and rockers.”


HALBSTARKE is available now via Sturm & Drang.

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