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.
Beauty queen winner posing in front of alpine backdrop, London, 1970s.
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.
Contestant poses in a swimsuit, London, 1980s.
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.
Miss West Indies in Great Britain contestant poses, Hammersmith, London, 1970s.
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.
Miss Black & Beautiful Sybil McLean with fellow contestants, Hammersmith Palais, London, 1972.
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."
Miss West Indies in Great Britain, Hammersmith, London, late 1970s.
Holley posing, Hammersmith, London, early 1970s.
Holley modelling jewellery, Hammersmith, London, early 1970s.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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