Roman Pyatkovka is a leading representative of Ukrainian conceptual photography, most closely associated with the Kharkiv School of Photography. Pyatkovka was a pioneer of a style of photography that challenged the prevailing ethos of Socialist Realism, a style that dominated Soviet photography and cinematography since the early 1930s. Unlike Socialist Realism, which depicted scenes of a harmonious communist society, photographers of the Kharkiv School challenged the prevailing status quo with a socially complex modern aesthetic. Pyatkovka's use of overlays and hand-coloring helped define this new style, which would continue to push artistic boundaries both during and after the more artistically diverse perestroika years. In 1989, he joined the National Society of Photo Artists of Ukraine (NSPAU).