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Christopher Thomas, lost in a silent L.A.


With these atmospheric black and white photographs, exhibited at Hamiltons in London, German photographer Christopher Thomas brings his style of city portraiture to Los Angeles, originally established in Münchner Elegien (2001–2005), New York Sleeps (2009), Venice in Solitude (2010) and Paris: City of Light (2014). As with his previous series, he transports the viewer to a silent city, devoid of human presence and cars, particularly extraordinary in a portrait of L.A. The series includes classic views and motifs associated with the city, such as the Hollywood Sign, Randy’s Donuts, Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland and Santa Monica Beach, as well as more unexpected pictures of oil pumps, solitary piers stretching into the Pacific Ocean and the nucleus and center of Los Angeles under the Spaniards.

Thomas has been travelling to L.A. for more than three decades, several times a year, with the knowledge that in the history of photography, no conceptual and comprehensive photographic survey of the Californian metropolis has ever been created. In 2014 Thomas set off to L.A. once more, with the project specifically in mind, to record the architectural highlights and famous “Googie” icons (vernacular commercial architecture), as well as the lesser known buildings and areas, noting down where to stand, what details his images should include and the light conditions. He settled on capturing the scenes primarily in the early hours of the morning, just before dusk, or at night by moonlight.

For his most recent stay from January – March 2017, Thomas lived in a camper van in order to make his way carefully around the city. As a visitor to L.A., it could be possible to bypass the architectural diversity and creativity due to the vastness of the metropolitan area and the perpetual gridlock on the streets. This city portrait is not intended to be a comprehensive architectural account – much has not been taken into consideration, Rudolph Schindler to name just one – but it is Thomas’s personal view of the city’s cultural and architectural history that is reflected here.


Christopher Thomas, Lost in L.A.
Hamilton Gallery
September 20 – October 14, 2017
13 Carlos Pl, Mayfair
London W1K 2EU
United Kingdom

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