Swiss photographer Karlheinz Weinberger has been photographing the youth of Europe for more than fifty years and has created a body of work that is striking, sexy, totally bad-ass, and utterly iconic. Weinberger’s photographs of German and Swiss “Verlaustan” (literally, lice infected ones) have become highly influential in fashion, art, and film.
Weinberger gives the world an intimate glimpse of a disaffected youth subculture full of booze, big hair, fist-fights, and rock & roll. The subjects of his photos were a rag-tag assortment of juvenile delinquents, fashion impresarios, and good kids gone bad. Consciously or unconsciously, they defied the rules of good taste and terrorized their parents and the public with their far-out style.
Weinberger captured them all with humanity and respect. His gaze was never judgmental, only interested and adoring. This comes out more in Weinbergers’ series of male nudes which were not included in this series as most of them were confiscated by Swiss police raids in the 50’s. Rebel Youth is a fascinating look at a subculture that is hardly known outside of Switzerland and Germany. It’s an awesome collection of work and one heck of a style manual. Available February 8th from Rizzoli.
Daniel St. Germaine
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