back to top

This Photographer Documented Black Beauty Pageants In London Over Three Decades

Raphael Albert covered beauty events in the 1960s, '70s, and '80s.

Posted on

Pioneering photographer Raphael Albert is being celebrated in a London exhibition that features 50 of his prints documenting black beauty pageants of the late 1960s to the 1980s.

Albert moved to London from the Caribbean island of Grenada in the 1950s and studied photography at Ealing Technical College before becoming a freelance photographer for black British newspapers such as West Indian World.

One of Albert's first assignments was to document Miss Jamaica, after which he established the local contest Miss Black and Beautiful, followed in 1974 by Miss Teenager of the West Indies in Great Britain and Miss West Indies in Great Britain.

Albert was committed to documenting the Caribbean communities in his local London area, including making home-studio portrait photographs for local families, along with covering weddings and christenings.

The exhibition's curator, Renée Mussai, said: “Imbued with an exquisite, revolutionary sensuality and a certain joie de vivre, Raphael Albert’s photographs embody an aura of hedonistic confidence in a new generation of black women coming of age in Britain during the 1970s, fuelled by complex (body) politics of national identity, difference and desire."

Raphael Albert: Miss Black and Beautiful is showing at Autograph ABP, Rivington Place, London, until 24 September 2016.

Matt Tucker is the UK Picture Editor for BuzzFeed and is based in London.

Contact Matthew Tucker at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.