Bittersweet is a series of photographs made by German photographer Christopher Thomas for nearly a decade from the 2000s until 2020.
Taken in multiple locations around the world, the photographs show a range of subjects from a discovered bar in Galveston, Texas to an abandoned fairground ride near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine.
The photographs oscillate between sadness and joy, regret and nostalgia, youth and experience, evoking a loss of innocence as childhood is left behind. They share an eerie, cinematic tension and mostly an absence of human figures suggesting an air of abandonment. Thomas cites the influence of Edward Hopper’s paintings on the project and his admiration for the photography of Roger Ballen and Paulo Ventura.
“In ‘Bittersweet’ we are invited to imagine the drama inherent in the clues running through each scene… There is an unavoidable sense of decline in this series which the passage of time inevitably inflicts on places and structures that were once full of activity and are subsequently falling into ruin. But many of these photographs will raise a smile of recognition and return us to carefree, youthful hedonism. Age brings experience and disappointment, but ‘Bittersweet’ reminds us of rites of passage from the simple thrill of ice creams on the beach to our early love affairs and dancing through the night until dawn.” – Joshua White ‘Bittersweet’, 2020
Christopher Thomas has been represented by Hamiltons for over 8 years during which time the gallery has mounted two exhibitions devoted to his photographs of Los Angeles and Venice. He began his career as a commercial photographer for German magazines including GEO, Stern and Merian.
Thomas has published a book on the work which includes an introduction by Gallery Owner Tim Jefferies, as well as two essays by the photographer and former Gallery Director Joshua White.
“This series is about feelings, sad ones, happy ones and everything in between. It is about joy and fear, it is melancholic and warm, it is about gain and loss, it is about the beginning and the end of life and the whole time in between.” – Christopher Thomas