Monday, December 16, 2013

HALBSTARKE


In keeping with yesterday's Swiss confectionery theme, check out the sweet belt buckles on these Alpine Elvis aficionados from the 1950s.  While in Miami last week, I had the good fortune to come across a booth of vintage photographs by Karlheinz Weinberger, a Swiss artist who lived in Zurich and documented the "halbstarker" culture of the era.  Karlheinz began his career taking photos for an Italian gay magazine under the pseudonym "Jim".  "Halbstarke" (literally "half strongs") were early forebears of DIY hipster culture, with hair and homemade belt buckles unmatched in size and scope even by Texas standards.  Weinberger continued photographing local subcultures the rest of his life, moving from Halbstarke to Switzerland's version of Hell's Angels (pictured above), though professionally he worked in a Zurich warehouse for most of his life and never gained much income from the sale of his photographs.


The exhibition of Weinberger's work in Miami included several photos of early rock-a-billy-wannabes with raging boners.  Unfortunately, "Fair glare" (that unruly mix of overhead lighting and protective glass) kept me from capturing very many usable images.  I searched for the set online but couldn't find any visual references to his x-rated collection.

Here is a sample of Weinberger's better known (and bigger buckled) work:


6 comments:

  1. I love the Hell's Angel photo. He looks like Che Guevara.

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  2. These are so damn interesting.

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  3. wow, the alternative zippers are amazing too

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  4. I revere Karlheinz Weinberger. So does John Waters! His book Rebel Youth is essential.

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  5. "Half strong" is interesting language. Do you know what the Swiss attitude towards gays has been historically?

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