Christopher Thomas: Bittersweet

2 - 30 September 2020

‘Bittersweet’ is a new series of photographs made by Christopher Thomas over the past ten years. The photographs oscillate between sadness and joy, evoking a loss of innocence as we leave childhood behind. Taken in multiple locations around the world, the photographs show a range of subjects from a a discovered bar in Galveston, Texas to an abandoned fairground ride near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine. Thomas even had to surreptitiously enter restricted sites such as a wooden rollercoaster in the United States where he was aware that trespass can be life threatening. 

 

Sometimes the photographs will take a few weeks to prepare while at other times he has to work quickly. 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.

 

During the editing process, Thomas explains that ‘it’s hard to say why one image works and another one doesn't. Sometimes it is an issue of formal and aesthetic details but mostly it is emotional quality, which cannot be explained." Without a natural ending, Thomas hopes to keep expanding ‘Bittersweet’ for the rest of his life. 

 

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.