Jeans by Karlheinz Weinberger
Publisher: The Swiss Institute
Jeans documents the personal obsession of self-taught photographer Karlheinz Weinberger. The work of whom remained largely unknown for decades but are a genuine contribution to the history of portraiture.
By day Weinberger worked in a warehouse in Zurich while in his free time he escaped the monotony by immersing himself in photography under the pseudonym Jim. His Artistic career began by taking photographs for the gay underground Zurich club and magazine Der Kreis, taking candid shots of lovers, friends and strangers on the street with an overt erotic investment in his subjects.
In 1958 Weinberger met a small group of teenagers known as "Halbstark" or "half strong". The group was comprised of working class boys and girls dissatisfied with the conservative Swiss climate, its members demonstrated their anti- establishment stance with embellished outfits of denim and leather, in an exaggerated and homemade version of the popularized American bad-boy style of the time. Weinberger captured the unfiltered attitude of the group in the parks and fairgrounds that they gathered while processing and developing the photo's in his home makeshift studio. In his stark, posed photographs of these young rebels, Weinberger focuses on individual figures, exploring both a personal erotic obsession and the cultural symbolism of blue jeans, whose scarcity in post war Switzerland implied not just a fashion statement but a badge of pride.This publication reproduces a portfolio of these works that Weinberger designed himself in the mid-1950s.