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EMOP Berlin 2020 : Gallery argus fotokunst : Roger Melis : Paris by foot


Published in 1986 “Paris on foot” was the first book by an East German photographer making exclusive use of street photography to portray life in a foreign city. In achieving a circulation figure of 40,000 copies, the book gained true cult status in the GDR.

The pictures were taken in April and May 1982 when Roger Melis was permitted to travel to the Seine for four weeks. Not intimidated by the iconic images of this place of yearning, he wandered the streets of Paris day by day and succeeded in creating a portrayal of the city that lived up to the yardstick of his own credo. Melis did not seek sensation, but attempted to reflect everyday life on the streets of Paris. This is quite likely the reason why the photographs had such a strong impact in the GDR and kind­led people’s desire to break down the walls and to travel.

On the occasion of Roger Melis’ 80th birthday the gallery “argus fotokunst” is showcasing a selection of the best photographs in original print from his estate.

The exhibition is accompanied by the release of an new edition of »Paris by foot« (Lehmstedt Verlag). The book is based on a renewed review of the entire catalogue of material brought back by Roger Melis from Paris at that time and combines the best photographs of the first edition with 30 previously unpublished photographs from the estate.

After starting out as a scientific photographer, Roger Melis (1940–2009) worked in Berlin from 1968 as a freelance portrait-, reportage- and fashion photographer for newspapers, magazines and publishing houses in East and West Germany.


Roger Melis : Paris by foot

September 19 to October 31, 2020

Gallery argus fotokunst

Marienstr. 26

10117 Berlin


The exhibition takes place as part of the

EMOP Berlin – European Month of Photography


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