Christopher Thomas was born in 1961 in Munich and studied photography at Bayerische Staatslehranstalt für Photographie (Bavarian State Institute for Photography). He subsequently worked successfully as a commercial photographer and received several awards for the journalistic work he did for Geo, Stern, Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, Merian and other magazines.
He is also well known as an art photographer for his comprehensive series of large city views, called Münchner Elegien (Munich Elegies). Thomas continued to photograph several other cities in series such as New York Sleeps and Venedig, die Unsichtbare (Venice, the Invisible) and all his cityscapes contain certain atmosphere. He photographs important, recognisable places when they are empty, without the urban bustle which is often represented in 19th century photography. Thomas searches for the right places to photograph by dusk or dawn, when the inhabitants of the city are still sleeping. The photographer uses a large format camera, which forces him to work slowly and intensely, a tripod, a dark cloth and type 55 black and white Polaroids, but none of his photographs are digitally manipulated.
In addition to his city series, he has created another body of work called Passion, which he made during the rehearsal of the Oberammergau Passion Play. Thomas was not interested in the show as such; he was more intrigued by the striking individuals of the show who, in his opinion, were central to the extraordinary energy of this show. His photographs deliberately resemble Passion cycles of fine old masters such as Caravaggio, Zurbarán or Rembrandt. In 2011 Thomas received the silver award of the Art Directors Club Deutschland in the photography category for this series.
For his newest series #90 Cans Thomas photographed mundane, worn out metal cans that he has obsessively collected over the past fifteen years. With the use of colour photography he can detect the subtle tones of the cans, which he enhances by photographing them in front of a black backdrop.
Christopher Thomas work has been widely published and exhibited. Münchner Elegien was published in 2005 by Shirmer / Mosel and exhibited at the Münchner Stadtmuseum (City Museum of Munich, which specialises in photography). New York Sleeps was exhibited by Bernheimer Fine Art Photography in Munich; the Steven Kasher Gallery, New York; Fifty One Fine Art Photography, Antwerp and The Wapping Project, London. The book of this series was published in 2009 by Prestel (third edition 2011) and was awarded the German Photo-book prize. In 2012 Christopher Thomas’ Venedig, die Unsichtbare was published by Prestel and his Venice series was exhibited by Bernheimer. Furthermore, Prestel published Photographien der Passionsspiele Oberammergau in 2010.