This first-of-its-kind collection presents photographer Karlheinz Weinberger’s influential portraits of rebel youth of the sixties. While Karlheinz Weinberger is known as a pioneer of male erotic imagery, the Swiss amateur photographer also left an indelible mark on the fashion world with his decades-long documenting of vibrant rebel youth culture. These working-class teenagers created looks that fused iconic American pop culture imagery—biker jackets, denim jeans, bouffant hairdos, James Dean insouciance—with their own idiosyncratic sensibilities. From the late 1950s through the ’60s, Weinberger captured the defiant glamour of these youths with a keen eye for their provocative handmade designs. Inspired by the rebel youth’s pop playfulness and fierce individuality, a legion of contemporary fashion-industry leaders have been profoundly influenced by the photographs collected in this stunning volume.
About the Author
Karlheinz Weinberger (1921–2006) was a self-taught photographer who achieved renown late in life for his groundbreaking photography. Weinberger’s work has been the subject of numerous group and solo exhibitions, receiving rave reviews in publications such as the New York Times, Artforum, The New Yorker, and New York Magazine.
John Waters is a filmmaker, writer, and visual artist. He has directed such beloved cult films as Pink Flamingos, Hairspray, and Female Trouble.
Guy Trebay writes for the New York Times style section, where he covers fashion and style. He has received numerous awards, including a Pulitzer Prize nomination. He has also written for the New Yorker, The Atlantic, Esquire, and the Village Voice.
Praise for Rebel Youth: Karlheinz Weinberger…
“Mr. Weinberger’s subjects, mostly young men in the ‘50s and ‘60s, interpreted American style in ways both fascinating and bizarre.” ~New York Times
"Karlheinz Weinberger (1921-2006) is famous for documenting incredible-looking juvenile delinquents in Switzerland in the late 50s and early 60s, and also for having his style ripped-off by contemporary fashion designers, photographers, and stylists, like all the time. His last book, published in 2000, is out of print and going for a minimum of $500 on eBay, but thankfully Rizzoli is publishing a new book of his work called Rebel Youth." ~Vice
“Mixing American pop culture fashion with their own over-the-top accents, the ‘Halbstarke’ youth made giant belt buckles and DIY denim look good, in a way only charming delinquents can (imagine Elvis meets Brokeback Mountain, with an eccentric Euro edge).” ~W
“So much for Swiss conformity: Karlheinz Weinberger’s portraits of Zurich’s post-Second War youth captures a time when the height of coolness meant dressing like an American rebel. But this was not a look that you could just buy off the rack—it took lots of craft and effort. Hunched over a workbench or sewing machine, you needed a lot of finesse to look this rough.” ~The New Yorker
“The outfits in Karlheinz Weinberger’s photos might seem at first glance artificially produced, some over-styled exaggerations from a Kenneth Anger movie. But the kids in Weinberger’s photographs are very real rockers from the late ‘50s and early ‘60s in Zurich who built a community out of a shared love for Elvis and American music. A new book of Weinberger’s work Rebel Youth shows how painstakingly he catalogued the Swiss subculture called the Halbstark or ‘Half-Strong,’ hosting kids in his in-home studio and following them around town to snap photos.” ~The Fader
“Swiss photographer Karlheinz Weinberger…totally speaks our language with his gorgeously gritty snaps of disaffected Swiss youth…. It’s the kind of book we’d look to for style inspiration again and again…Mark your calendar because, trust us, this is one book you’ll actually want to read. Trip to Geneva, anybody?”
“Offering a photographic view of an urban Swiss subculture, Karlheinz Weinberger’s Rebel Youth takes book lovers for a walk on Zurich’s wild side in the 1960s.” ~Flavorwire
“A foreword by filmmaker John Waters adds to the kitsch value of the subject, but don’t be mistaken: This is seriously good work” ~City Arts
“Weinberger captures a late 50s/early60s look that led to many fashion revolutions and looks that later inspired rockers like the Straw Cats and Adman and the Ants.” ~Blog on Books
"We’ve found a new subculture of the week: Swiss greasers. Through the late 50s and 60s, they were terrorizing the country with greased pompadours, biker jackets and oversized belt buckles with pictures of Elvis on them—almost all of which looks pretty awesome in retrospect. Rebel Youth… takes a look at what the rockabillies of Switzerland were up to during those years. " ~Kempt
“Weinberger’s documentation of rebellious youth inspired the fashion industry—specifically folks like Steven Meisel and Martin Margiela—the sharp individuality of “Verausten” fusing elements of American pop culture and a defiant European glamour.” ~Curated