“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
From a vow made in 1633, every ten years, the inhabitants of Oberammergau, a small town in Bavaria, put on a show recounting the sufferings, the death and the resurrection of Jesus.
In 2010, Christopher Thomas decided to photograph these scenes of the Passion. He focused on the expression of the deepest human feelings, hope, suffering, astonishment, horror, joy. The photographs do not represent overall scenes. They are portraits of individuals, those amateurs who embody the protagonists of history: merchants, soldiers, the apostles, Mary, Jesus.
The shots took place during the rehearsals. The choice of colors - subtle shades of brown, gray, on dark backgrounds, reinforces the expressive power of the images.
The images refer to the works of great European painters like Holbein the Elder, Caravaggio, Zurbaran, Rembrandt ...
Lost in L.A., 2015-2017
Venice in solitude, 2012
New York Sleeps, 2001-2009
Paris, City of Light, 2014
The complete series of 100 images can be seen in the book "Paris City of Lights", Prestel Editions, 2014.
Germany , 1961
Christopher Thomas was born in Munich in 1961 and graduated from the Bayerische Staatslehranstalt für Photographie. He has received a number of international awards as a commercial photographer.
In the 1990s, Thomas also worked as a photographer for aid organizations such as Nepra e. V. and DAHW (German Leprosy and Tuberculosis Relief Organization) on numerous trips to Nepal, India, and Ethiopia, for which he received the World Press Award and the Epica Award (both 1995) as well as the Gold Medal (1995) at the New York Festival. Between 2012 and 2016 he accompanied an international group of female plastic surgeons on their travels to India and Bangladesh documenting their work.
As an artist, Christopher Thomas has established a reputation above all through his city portraits. His series Munich Elegies was published in 2005 by Schirmer / Mosel Verlag. This was followed in 2009 by the series New York Sleeps published by Prestel Verlag.
In 2010 Christopher Thomas photographed amateur actors and actresses during rehearsals for the Passion Play in Oberammergau. The result was a series of fifty-six portraits, reminiscent of paintings by Old Masters, which evoke the spirit of the Passion Play. These portraits were published in a book titled Passion by Prestel Verlag in the same year. They have been exhibited worlwide, most recently in the German Parliament.
Works by Christopher Thomas can be seen worldwide in renowned photo galleries and at trade fairs, but also in large private and institutional collections such as the François Pinault Collection, the Nicola Erni Collection, the Sir Elton John Photo Collection, the Art Collection of the German Bundestag and many others.
Lost in L.A., HIGHLIGHTS Art Fair Munich
Lost in L.A., Hamiltons Gallery, London
New York Sleeps, Venice in Solitude, Paris . City of Light, Engadin, Flo Peters Gallery, Hamburg
Engadin, Art Genève, Geneva
Engadin, Bernheimer Fine Art, Lucerne
Passion, St. Matthäus Church, Berlin
Passion, Herrenclub, Munich
Vom Allmächtigen zum Leibhaftigen – Religous works from the SØR Rusche Collection Oelde/Berlin, Kunsthaus Apolda Avantgarde
Engadin, Evangelische Dorfkirche, St. Moritz
Wahrheiten (Truths) – Contemporary Art in Dialog with Old Masters, Works from the SØR Rusche Collection Oelde/Berlin, Museum Abtei Liesborn
Paris City of Light, Paris Photo Fair, Bernheimer Fine Art Photography, Munich
The Human Face: Christopher Thomas in the Company of Old Masters, Colnaghi Old Masters, London
Views of Paris, group exhibition including “Sacre Cœr III”, Kunstmuseum Picasso Münster
Paris City of Light, Steven Kasher Gallery, New York
Paris City of Light, Bernheimer Fine Art Photography, Munich
City portraits: Munich, New York, Venice, Paris, Bernheimer Fine Art, Lucerne
Passion, Museum Kirche zum Heiligen Kreuz, Zitta
seelenblicke, KunstKulturKirche, Frankfurt
New York Sleeps, Photolux Festival, Lucca
Leitzachtal 2012, Tannerhof, Bayrischzell
City Portraits, Elipsis Gallery, Istanbul
Burnt Women, Bernheimer Fine Art Photography
Passion Inri, Sankt Rochus Church, Düsseldorf
Venice, in Solitude, Hamiltons Gallery, London
Venice, in Solitude, Bernheimer Fine Art Photography, Munich
Venice, in Solitude, Fifty One Fine Art Photography, Antwerp
Passion, Galerie Photo 12, Paris
New York Sleeps, Helsinki Photography Biennial
New York Sleeps, Museum im Kleihues-Bau, Stuttgart-Kornwestheim
Venice in Solitude, Steven Kasher Gallery, New York
Passion, Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Munich
New York Sleeps, The Wapping Project Bankside, London
New York Sleeps, Fifty One Fine Art Photography, Antwerpen
Munich . New York . Photographs
Bernheimer Fine Art Photography, Schloss Fuschl, Fuschl, Austria
New York Sleeps . Photographs by Christopher Thomas,
Bernheimer Fine Art Photography, Munich
Christopher Thomas . New York Sleeps, Steven Kasher Gallery, New York
Munich inspires, Exhibition for the 850th city anniversary,
Literaturhaus München, Munich
Places beyond Turbulence . Photographs by Olaf Otto Becker and
Christopher Thomas, Credit Suisse AG, Munich
Munich Elegies . Photographs by Christopher Thomas, Fotomuseum München
Christopher Thomas . Munich Elegies. Photographs from 1999–2005
Schirmer/Mosel Showroom, Munich
Museums and collections:
German Parliament (Deutscher Bundestag)
Elton John Collection
Francois Pinault Collection
Nicola Erni Collection
Bayerisches Nationalmuseum (Bavarian National Museum)
Fotomuseum München ( Museum for photography Munich)
Exhibitions and Fairs
2014 | Passion | Museum of the Holy Cross Church, Zittau, Germany
Bibliography2017 | Lost in L.A.
Edited and with a preface by Ira Stehmann. Prestel Publishing: Munich London New York, 2017. 144 pages Hardcover Book, 30 x 28 cm2015 | Engadin
Edited and with a preface by Ira Stehmann. 128 pages with 56 illustrations First edition with 500 copies. Hardcover book, 25 x 32 cm2014 | Paris, City of Lights
Edited by Ira Stehmann. With a preface by Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, an essay by Ira Stehmann and a postface by Christopher Thomas. Prestel Publishing: Munich London New York, 2014. 160 pages with 80 b/w illustrations Hardcover Book, 30 x 28 cm2012 | Venice in Solitude
Photographs by Christopher Thomas With poems by Albert Ostermaier. Edited by Ira Stehmann. Prestel Verlag: München London New York, 2012. 160 pages with 80 s/w illustrations2010 | Passion
Edited by Petra Giloy-Hirtz and Ira Stehmann. With texts by Christian Stückl, Ludwig Mödl, Petra Giloy-Hirtz and Christopher Thomas. Prestel Publishing: Munich London New York, 2010. 128 pages with 56 colour illustrations Hardcover, 28 x 37,5 cm