photographed by Karlheinz Weinberger
John Waters on Karlheinz Weinberger
The outfits in Karlheinz Weinberger’s photos might seem at first glance artificially produced, some over-stylized 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 at his in-home studio and following them around town to snap photos. The cartoonish affection for rebellion in the photos caught John Waters’ eye some years ago, and he had the chance to meet Weinberger in person and purchase some of his photos. He wrote a foreword for Rebel Youth, released by Rizzoli New York, and feels a strong enough kinship with Weinberger that a discussion of his work inevitably turned into a discussion about Waters himself. We chatted about Weinberger, no doubt, but Waters also had plenty to share about Baltimore bad girls, hocking loogies, and of course, the always-relevant Divine.