During the early days of his practice, Roger Melis worked in the socialist realist style for official East German publications. Yet, rapidly, the German photographer grew eager to move away from control and propaganda and became more critical of the socialist era and thus was banned from working for the GDR press. He depicted the world of Eastern Germany, from its restless workers and provocative artists to rebellious teenagers, the whole set against the monumental Soviet architecture or within the tiny spaces of their homes. Often melancholic, his images resisted ‘socialist consciousness’ but clearly established the specificities of his cultural environment. Not only did Roger Melis pay tribute to August Sander’s portrayal of 1930s Germany, but also did he enable a rare and unofficial representation of East Germany before the fall of its shameful wall.